Boy Catches Fire After Wearing Pajamas With 500 Times The Safe Level Of Formaldehyde

A New Zealand boy suffered third-degree burns after his Chinese-made pajamas, a brand recalled for containing 500-900 times the safe levels of formaldehyde, caught fire after he sat near a gas heater.

3-year-old Jack Livingston’s jammies, which had already been washed at least 10 times, bore a label proclaiming they had a “low fire danger.”

“If we had not been close by in the house, he would have been totally burnt. The pyjama top completely disintegrated, there was no smouldering just flames,” said Mr. Livingston.

Jack is said now to be recovering well and running and playing normally.

There’s no evidence the pajamas have made their way to the US, but the story reveals the importance of keeping abreast of the latest consumer product recalls.

Jack’s brush with death [Waikato Times]
(Photo: Iain McGregor)


Edit Your Comment

  1. headon says:

    Train keeps a rollin all night long

  2. Poor little guy. If this doesn’t wake people up to the dangers of lax standards in manufacturing, I don’t know what will.


  3. hubris says:

    I wonder why all this stuff is coming out about China now. I doubt they all of a sudden started using all these different shady practices in a ton of different industries all within the last six months. What the hell is going on?

  4. Pelagius says:

    Good to see they aren’t just trying to kill American children.

  5. Cowboys_fan says:

    I really don’t get any of this. Of all the biology and chemistry classes I’ve taken, using formaldehyde, nobody ever told me it was flammable, let alone could be used in clothing. What is “low fire danger” supposed to mean? Thats a red flag to me considering I’ve never bought clothes with any kind of fire warning.
    I feel terrible for the poor kid. He’ll never be the same I imagine.

  6. homerjay says:

    @omerhi: Because one huge incident (dog food) caught the worlds eye and now everyone is gawking at everything that China does– and rightfully so.

  7. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @omerhi: Because the propaganda machine is currently set on “hate China.” China has always produced cheap lousy crap that hurts people. It’s just that it was formerly politically expedient to gloss it over so we could look like we were all friendly and decent and better than the Reds.

  8. Kwummy says:

    Now I gotta check my clothes for the level of “fire danger” I might entail should I don said item? Damn.

  9. headon says:

    Todays clothing fire alert level is set to Orange (high)

  10. uberbitter says:


    It’s actually pretty common to see some notice on children’s pajamas specifically that they are fire resistant.

  11. Pelagius says:

    The Chinese are just banking on the fact that most people don’t understand what “inflammable” really means.


    That had to be seriously scary.

  13. lestat730 says:

    that is so sad, I feel really bad for that poor little kid. Thank god he’s going to be alright, that burn looks horrible..

  14. JMH says:

    @Pelagius: “Inflammable means flammable? What a country!”

  15. etinterrapax says:

    That is horrifying. We need to stop doing business with these people immediately. They’re right. If we continue buying from them after all of this, we’re the fools.

  16. GirlCat says:

    @uberbitter: I think it’s a federal requirement that children’s sleepwear meet a certain level of flame-retardancy.

  17. Craig says:

    Well, these jammies were definitely flame retarded.

  18. RossC says:

    Hmmm, wonder if the head of the plant in China will commit suicide over this defect.

  19. gibsonic says:


    easier said than done. chinese goods are in and around nearly everything you use or buy these days.

    It’s a terminal cancer. It’s very difficult if not impossible to remove without killing you(the economy and modern culture as we know it)

  20. cindel says:

    Is it possible that China are trying to better their chances at the Olympic Games?

    That’s really really sad.

  21. Ncisfan says:

    Damn! Like I’ve said before China is evil, Well their government anyway,

  22. Ncisfan says:

    @cindel: could be and if so their athleets must be terrable.

  23. G-Dog says:


  24. etinterrapax says:

    @gibsonic: I am aware. But I don’t think we ought to just give up.

  25. Buran says:

    @speedwell: No, because they have been getting caught lately breaking US laws.

  26. Wormfather says:

    You guys do know that Michael Vick is a chinese export, right?

  27. hemaphore says:

    gives new meaning to “liar liar pants on fire”

    (someone had to say this)

  28. Trai_Dep says:

    So is it out of line to kidnap Chinese government officials’ children, set their shoulders on fire then douse the resulting flames with formaldihyde?

    I’m beginning to think it’s the only thing that will stop them.

  29. IC18 says:

    Now that is one spontaneous combustible jammies. Poor little guy.

  30. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Buran: You don’t catch a criminal if you aren’t looking, you know.

  31. miborovsky says:

    @trai_dep: Do it.

  32. Lula Mae Broadway says:

    I always wondered what the vile smell was coming off some of the really cheap Chinese clothes – now I know – POISON!

  33. skrom says:

    If it wasnt for all the cheapskates that insist on shopping at places like Wal Mart so they can get their cheap ass Chinese crap we wouldnt have this problem. If people would be willing to pay good money for quality made American stuff we wouldnt need to import $.75 pajamas from China.

  34. utahoboe says:

    I still find it amazing that we are embracing trade with a COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP!

  35. Slack says:

    From Wikipedia…

    Although formaldehyde is a gas at room temperature, it is readily soluble in water.

    So how does this happen after 10 washings.

  36. Syd says:

    My wife and I are trying to purchase items only made outside of China. This isn’t for any noble reason; we just want to see if it’s even possible anymore.

    Went to Target to get a POS desk lamp and all of their “Home” furnishings are, mostly, made there. Maybe buying something electrical from a second- or third-world country isn’t such a good idea anyway.

    Let me tell you though: GOOD LUCK trying to buy a leather belt made outside of China.

  37. Mr.Purple says:

    Why the hell is formaldehyde in children’s pajamas, let alone pajamas?

  38. ahwannabe says:

    @Mr.Purple: So it’ll appear nice and wrinkle-free when it comes out of the package. Safety takes a backseat to appearances, doncha know.

  39. bohemian says:

    @ SYD

    I have been attempting to do the same. It really helps you purchase less! I saw a stainless steel Hello Kitty thermal portable bottle at Target the other day. It would match the other Hello Kitty lunch stuff she already has. Of course I looked at the label about where it was made. Of course it was China. All I could think of was the possibility of whatever chemical or heavy metal residue this item might contain and poison one of my kids with. That over rode the fact that it was cool looking.

  40. quantum-shaman says:

    @Cowboys_fan: It’s Chinese formaldehyde. Fortified with kerosene to save money.

  41. @skrom: Stupid poor people! Why can’t they just spend more money on stuff!

    @Mr.Purple: Someone said in the other thread it’s used to preserve fabrics and materials.

  42. ahwannabe says:

    @bohemian: exactamundo. If we all just quit buying crap we didn’t need, it would reduce our dependence on cheap imports significantly.

  43. quantum-shaman says:

    All I can say is, if you aren’t yet COMPLETELY convinced that the Chinese are not only greedy, lazy, evil, but also totally stupid, check this:


  44. DingoDigger says:

    @quantum-shaman: That is pretty damn racist there, buddy.

  45. asherchang says:

    @quantum-shaman: I’m embarassed at all the
    xenophobia and hate in these comments that is more than a little
    indolently (and retardedly) aimed at either the Chinese or their
    communist government.

    Has no one read The Jungle? Has no one noticed that this is the general
    pattern that occurs when individuals reach for money and success with
    no firm authority to govern industry?

  46. @asherchang: Bingo!!!

  47. Voyou_Charmant says:


  48. Voyou_Charmant says:

    @quantum-shaman: Cheap, repressive, exploitative, corrupt would be better.

    Too bad we cant say a damn thing about it, or, ya know — they will crush us.

    Everyone celebrate the wonders of the free market!!!!!!1

  49. Trai_Dep says:

    @asherchang: yeah, because if we don’t like seeing our pets die agonizing deaths from organ collapse, our children burst into flame, our non-BBQ’d children made mentally retarded thru lead poisoning, our country racked by antibiotic-resistant super-bugs, our boys with protruding titties thru illegal hormone additives

    (taking a deep breath of air because I’m out (and Geezus, this is only what China’s done this week))

    …Then we’re racists.

    Yup, that’s us. Uh huh. Guilty.

  50. Trai_Dep says:

    Oh, and for what China has done/is doing to Tibet?

    They can f*ck themselves. And die a flaming, slow death.

    So, yeah, don’t pull the race card for China. You’ll just look stupid and provencial. Or a shill.

  51. DingoDigger says:

    @trai_dep: Oh yeah, because the things that a Chinese company does is SURELY REPRESENTATIVE OF EACH AND EVERY CHINESE PERSON!

    What an utterly idiotic comment.

  52. @uberbitter: Isn’t it actually required by law that infant PJs be fire retardant/resistant in the US?

    @Syd: “Maybe buying something electrical from a second- or third-world country isn’t such a good idea anyway.”

    Frankly you’re probably safer with those than with a lot of things, since if it’s electrical, it’s probably UL-tested.

  53. lilmiscantberong says:

    This happened to me also. I bought my daughter pajamas, overnight they lay across a floor heating vent, the next day, they were huge holes burnt clear through the material.

    scary if she would have been wearing them.

  54. Trai_Dep says:


    China |ˈch Ä«nÉ™| a country in eastern Asia, the third largest and most populous in the world; pop. 1,298,847,000; capital, Beijing. Official name People’s Republic of China.

    Chinese | ch īˈnēz| adjective of or relating to China or its language, culture, or people. • belonging to or relating to the people forming the dominant ethnic group of China and widely dispersed elsewhere.

    It pains me that I need to copy/paste dictionary definitions in comments fields. Please, Dingo, help stop me from doing it again.

  55. iKnow says:

    @homerjay: Everyone is gawking at China because:

    A. To take away attention from Bush and his White House scandals and his non stop evoking of executive privilege in an attempt to cover up his own corrupt doings.


    B. To detract customers away from Chinese made products in an attempt to lessen to growing trade deficit that America has with them.

    It is sad that some people will still associate an entire race of over a billion people for the actions of a few.

    @trai_dep: You are a F#@$king idiot. Just stop talking. You backwoods redneck hillbilly product of incest.

    @quantum-shaman: I got to say, these are international matters, so unless you know the history behind it, which I’m sure you don’t you really shouldn’t comment on it.

  56. iKnow says:

    @quantum-shaman: Chinese are lazy, let me ask you what race are you? And if American what country of origin.

  57. iKnow says:

    @trai_dep: IS it out of line to kidnap your mother and beat her to death for having such a moron for a son?

  58. Ben Popken says:

    @quantum-shaman: That comment is blatantly racist, out of line, and not to mention, off-topic. Cool it.

  59. skrom says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:
    A lot of people are poor because they spend money on a lot of unnecessary things like cable TV, cell phones, eating out all the time instead of cooking in, FIOS internet service instead of dialup etc.. You would be surprised at how much money people waste on unnecessary things

  60. iKnow says:

    @quantum-shaman: What, do you live in the confederate south or something you ignorant sack of sh!t you must be trai_dep’s brother in law who is actually your blood cousin that married your sister. But really, what ethnicity are you

  61. sycophant says:

    It doesn’t matter how little you want to pay for you items, the nature of capitalism dictates that the company selling it (for whatever price) will aim to make the most profit on it. If there are companies in China that can make the products for less than it costs to make locally, then that’s where it will be made.

    The Mattel toys are a prime example of that, Mattel/Fisher Price is a premium brand, they cost a lot more than many other products in their class, and yet they are made in China.

    These things are coming out at the moment because of the focus on China (in the media, and in our minds). There are a phenomenal number of products in the market that are made in China, and very very few are a danger. Also, locally made products are also often the focus of similar safety scares.

    I’m not concerned about goods from China – and my 2 year old has pajamas from The Warehouse, so there.

  62. Trai_Dep says:

    …and the wingnuts go insaaaaane!

    People, it’s fine to blame a country if it does bad things. It doesn’t mean that all the people of that country are bad, let alone everyone of that ethnicity. Sort of like how 80% of the world thinks the US is an ass, yet remarkably, Americans abroad don’t find themselves waterboarded by vigilante locals giving an eye for an eye.

    Next time you’re abroad, see for yourself. Whoops – it’s painfully obvious that you don’t get out much. So you’ll have to take this on faith (do that a lot anyway, right?): “China” isn’t “Chinese”. And it doesn’t give a dispicable gov’t a free pass.

    Tho, if their leaders’ kids had to endure the ills from their policies, I’d bet they wouldn’t have done them. Just like if the GOP chickenhawks’ kids were drafted.

  63. shoegazer says:

    @trai_dep: Now I’m reaaallly confused. “Don’t play the race card” @Asherchang when he rightfully rebukes the inbred racist comments from quantum_shaman and god knows who else?

    Make up your mind. You claim you hate China “The Country, dude, not the people” but then “they” can die a “long, slow flaming death”. Who’s “they”? A country in eastern Asia, right. Not ALL Chinese, just the 1.3billion who are trying to poison and formaldehyde us to DEATH. Gotcha.

    You disgust me. Stay in America, please. The only reason we furriners don’t waterboard your ass is that we’ve moved on beyond your macho, Us vs Them posturing years ago.

    BTW it’s not “provencial” (sic) to see and call out a political vendetta being played out in the press. Even Consumerist has to bow down to the almighty Yellow Peril fearmongering.

    Anyway, you’ll be fine. Just don’t look at those slant-eyes funny and they won’t formaldehyde you to DEATH. (Dear god, will I need a < SARCASM > tag for that?)

  64. shoegazer says:

    And oh yeah, to Ben: I know that Consumerist is meant to protect, you know, the consumers, but how about policing the level of discourse a little more. A rebuke is fine, but seriously replace “Chinese” with “black” and see how comfortable you feel with the hate that’s being spewed in your comments.

  65. quantum-shaman says:

    @DingoDigger: Sue me

  66. quantum-shaman says:

    @asherchang: It doesn’t have anything to do with xenophobia or racism. There are actually lots of things I like about China, but not right now. They are a communist government that has gone capitalist in the most exploitative way possible, and that brings out the worst in them from all sides. They’re HEINOUS. Besides all the crap they are dumping onto the market, setting people’s kids on fire and putting people into the hospital with their polluted damn toothpaste, you should not forget to remember how they treat the Falun Gong practitioners, criminals, and innocent animals.

  67. quantum-shaman says:

    @iKnow: I’m an American of Chinese descent, you moron. And I mean “lazy” in the sense that they just do not give a flying F@*K about what they put into their products, or how much people suffer as a DIRECT consequence of using those products. Do ya get it?

  68. quantum-shaman says:

    @Ben Popken: No it isn’t. Sorry you read it out of context.

  69. quantum-shaman says:

    @shoegazer: *Sigh*. This is my last comment, just to clarify, and so you can all stop playing the race card like it was going out of style in a flaming Casino in Vegas. I do NOT have ANYTHING against the Chinese people because of their “race”. I have a LOT against them because of what they are doing to the international markets right now. If you think kids going up in flames, or people and animals dying because of their poisonous products is not a VERY serious problem, and if you think that I am a racist because I dare to vociferously oppose such hideous practices, along with the other things they do… like skinning dogs alive, boiling cats to death, and killing prisoner and selling their kidneys… it is YOU that has the REALLY BIG problem, NOT me. And just so you know, I happen to have an interest in Chinese culture and history that goes back a LONG way, but that was before they became capitalist communists.

  70. quantum-shaman says:

    @shoegazer: I’m neither inbred nor racist and I completely resent your ad hominem, arrogant, hate-filled and very personal comments directed at the individuals on this board.

  71. quantum-shaman says:

    @iKnow: What a frigging creep you are. I’m a “racist” because I criticize the Chinese, but you can make all sorts of nasty comments about Americans who live in the south? Please, explain how that works.

  72. @skrom: A lot of people are poor because they don’t make a lot of money.

  73. @quantum-shaman: No one read it out of context.

    There’s a difference between saying the Chinese government is horrible or these Chinese companies are horrible and saying that Chinese people are horrible.

  74. Ben Popken says:

    I’m laying down the flame-war asbestos and locking comments shortly.