You may be shocked to learn that there are no flame-retardant chemicals put on children’s clothing. Few flame-resistant fabrics are used; the U.S. standards do not require it, and proving liability truly depends on how quickly a fabric will ignite and how fast it burns. Every year, approximately 4,300 people in the U.S. are injured from clothing that ignites on or near open flames. On average, 120 die from burns each year.
If you find yourself in need of burn injury lawyers, our Minnesota team can help you. Reach out for a free consultation.
Case Quick Facts
Fabric flammability standards haven’t been changed much since the 1950s.
The 1953 Flammable Fabrics Act was created in an effort to regulate the safety of material used to make clothing sold by American retailers. Much of the clothing sold in the U.S. today is made overseas, which was not the case during the 1950s. Despite changes in how clothing is manufactured and sold in the U.S., standards for clothing flammability have not changed much since the Act’s original implementation.
The Act sets a “Class one normal flammability” standard — which has proven ineffective. The standard refers to the rate of flame spread. It often focuses on the sheer weight of the fabric, which in real world settings does not always relate to how fast a fabric ignites and burns.
Of the 486,000 patients admitted to hospitals for burn injuries in 2016, 73% were injured in their own home.
The fabrics in clothing these days must oblige by the government regulations. If they don’t there is a risk that they will be significantly less flame-resistant, making it a bigger risk for you.
Cotton and linen are the most flammable fabrics. Both burn with a hot, vigorous flame that is unlikely to self-extinguish.
Factors Contributing to Flammability
Different clothing fabrics burn in different ways. How each fabric burns depends on the clothing fibers, weave, and fit.
Fiber Characteristics: Cotton and linen burn hot and fast, synthetic fibers can melt onto the skin (but the flame quickly extinguishes), and wool/silk fibers burn slowly and are difficult to ignite.
How the Fabric is Made: If the structure of the fibers is close, the fabric is less likely to ignite but will burn longer than loosely structured fibers. Loosely structured fibers are more likely to catch fire, but won’t burn as long.
How the Clothing Fits: Clothes that fit closer to the body are less likely to stray (or get blown) into a flame source accidentally than clothes with loose, flowing design.
We believe manufacturers and retailers should incorporate some flame-resistant and flame-retardant fabrics into clothing. At the very least, warning labels about flammability should be used.
In any flammability case, we would need to prove that the clothing was unreasonably dangerous and this defect caused the burns. The clothing would need to be tested as to its fabric weight and “flame spread” by our experts. Many times we can locate an identical garment at the retail location where it was purchased. Claims of negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability against the retailer and manufacturer would be investigated. Pursuing these types of cases successfully is the only way we can make these products safer and protect our children.
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Why Choose GoldenbergLaw?
If you have suffered a flammable clothing injury, our attorneys in Minneapolis can help; reach out to GoldenbergLaw today. Our team has the years of experience necessary to handle your case and get you the settlement you deserve.
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