Flammable clothing and bedding can cause serious burns and death. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 4,000 people per year suffer severe clothing-related burn injuries. Fatalities from clothing igniting are estimated to total about 150 annually. (See www.cpsc.gov).
In some cases, a lawsuit may be filed against the fabric manufacturer, distributor or retailer where the clothing or fabric was purchased if the clothing causing the injuries is highly flammable or otherwise unsafe. In such an action the victim must prove:
– the clothing was defective and/or dangerous because it was unusually or highly flammable;
- – the defect in the clothing was directly responsible for the injuries suffered;
- – the defendant sold the clothing or material that the clothing was made out of;
- – the defect existed at the time of sale by the seller, distributor or manufacture.
The Federal Flammable Fabrics Act governs clothing flammability. Its purpose is to remove dangerous clothing from the US marketplace. Unfortunately, many clothes are not manufactured in the US, but are made in countries held to much lower standards. Many victims of flammable clothing accidents do not realize that the clothing they were wearing was highly flammable.
Below are some examples of products recalled for failure to comply with the standards of the Flammable Fabrics Act:
Clothes, Inc. of Montgomery, Alabama Recalls Flammable Children’s Pajamas – 8/7/2012
My Clothes recalled approximately 1,100 units of children’s pajamas due to the pajamas failure to meet the federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear, posing a risk of burn injury to children
Blair Women’s Chenille Robes Recalled- 12/06/2009
Thousands of Blair’s women’s chenille robes were recalled in April of 2009 for failing to meet safety standards. Numerous reports of the robes catching fire prompted the voluntary recall by the company. Unfortunately, there were six deaths that occurred, including several non-fatal burn injuries. A second recall was issued in June 2009 after the company heard from six of the families of victims who had died.
Fleece Sweatshirts Sold at Kmart Recalled – 11/6/00
Five-Y Clothing Inc. recalled about 42,000 fleece sweatshirts. These garments, which fail to meet the federal mandatory standards for fabric flammability, could ignite easily and present a serious risk of burn injuries.
What to do in the event your clothes catch fire:
Your actions in the first few seconds of a clothing fire––if a sleeve or hem catches fire–– make a big difference in the extent of injury that you might have.
- If your clothes are quick release, strip them off your body––better to be bare than burned.
- STOP, DROP, and ROLL if clothes are not quick release. This will tend to smother the fire. Your first impulse may be to run to move away from the fire source, but if your clothing is on fire running will just fan the flames and make it worse.
- Call 911. Report your location clearly and wait for emergency personnel. If your area of burn injury is small, it may be quicker to go to your closest emergency room.
- If you see someone else with clothes on fire––and you are not in a burning building or room––have them stop and lie down, then throw a wool blanket or coat over the fire to smother it.
- Seconds of inaction give the clothing fire a greater chance to cause severe pain and injury.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to unsafe clothing or bedding, contact Jinks, Crow & Dickson, P.C.1-334-738-4225.