Trade Advice Document
Trading advice from several sources is available to help businesses comply with the law.
The Health and Safety Executive website has advice on:
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute provides advice on a number of topics:
In the guide
The safety, labelling and treatment of nightwear for children and adults
This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales
The Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985 make it an offence to supply some children's nightwear unless it has been treated so that it conforms, after washing, to the flammability performance requirements of British Standard BS 5722: Specification for flammability performance of fabrics and fabric combinations used in nightwear garments.
Note: this standard has been withdrawn by the British Standards Institution (BSI) but is still referred to in the Regulations.
The Regulations lay down labelling requirements so that purchasers can tell whether other nightwear - including adults' - does or does not meet the flammability requirements.
Second-hand nightwear does not have to comply with these Regulations.
Children's nightwear means anything designed for wear by, and that would normally be worn by, a person under the age of 13 years, except:
- night dresses with a chest measurement of more than 91cm or a length of more than 122cm
- dressing gowns, bath robes and other similar garments with a chest measurement of more than 97cm or a sleeve measurement of more than 69cm
Children's nightwear must comply with the flammability performance requirements of BS 5722, except the following items:
- garments for babies up to three months old, with a chest measurement of 53cm or less
- cotton terry towelling bath robes
Other nightwear (including adult nightwear), babies' garments, children's pyjamas and children's cotton terry towelling bath robes must be labelled so as to inform the purchaser whether the item does or does not meet the flammability requirements of BS 5722.
If the item does not meet the requirements, it must have a label, printed in red, stating 'KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE'. If the item meets the requirements, it must have a label with one of the following:
- a statement in red text stating 'KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE'
- a statement in black text stating 'LOW FLAMMABILITY TO BS 5722'
- both statements in appropriate colours
Special rules apply to these items where they are advertised for sale on the internet or by mail order. If the item does not meet the flammability requirements the wording 'KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE' must be displayed next to the advert in a red-sided equilateral triangle. If the item does meet low flammability requirements the advert must show a green triangle with the words 'LOW FLAM' within it.
Any nightwear treated with flame-retardant chemicals must also have a label that states 'DO NOT WASH AT MORE THAN 50oC. CHECK SUITABILITY OF WASHING AGENT'.
Positioning of labels
The wording described above must be given on a durable label on the inside neck of the garment or next to the label giving the size of the garment, or the wording must be given on the size label immediately following such information.
The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 also require goods to be safe. When assessing the safety of a product, manufacturers are encouraged to manufacture goods in accordance with European Standards. The European Standard BS EN 14878: Textiles. Burning behaviour of children's nightwear. Specification introduces new flammability performance requirements for children's nightwear. This covers all nightwear for children aged under 14*, including pyjamas, all dressing gowns, and babies' garments, and introduces specific flammability requirements for these garments.
[*This is different from the age of 13 that is specified in the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985.]
In principle, it is recommended that the requirements of the UK Regulations continue to be applied, where applicable. However, for garments such as children's pyjamas and cotton terry towelling bath robes and babies' garments, the flammability requirements of BS EN 14878 should be applied so that suppliers meet the statutory requirements of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).
The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 also cover second-hand goods, so again EN 14878 could be used to assess the safety of second-hand children's nightwear. In common with other consumer products, these Regulations require the manufacturer to mark the product, or its packaging, with their name and address and the product reference or batch code (unless it would not be reasonable to do so).
In addition to the specific flammability requirements, nightwear must be safe in all other respects, such as avoiding strangulation, entrapment, and choking hazards caused by cords and fasteners and chemical hazards.
See 'General product safety: distributors' and 'General product safety: producers' for more information on the GPSR.
All nightwear must comply with the requirements of EU Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and therefore must not contain certain azo dyes and harmful flame retardants.
Failing to comply with the above requirements is an offence. The maximum penalty is a fine and two years' imprisonment. The court may also forfeit any or all of your unsafe goods.
Where a product causes personal injury or property damage, the supplier could be liable to pay substantial damages.
Additionally, if new products on sale are found to be in breach of the legislation, the manufacturer or importer could be required to recall all of the affected products.
- Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985
- General Product Safety Regulations 2005
- EU Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
Last reviewed / updated: August 2017
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.
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