Cute jammies! … now, what’s that smell!

Just like so many parents, I have kids that are constantly growing out of their clothes.  Our daughter was complaining that a few pairs of her “jammies” were getting too “squeezy”, so I went shopping for a few new sets.

At The Children’s Place I found an adorable set that I knew she would love because they’re loud and bright (just like her!) and pink!  At TCP, a lot of their sets come folded in a plastic bag-style package that hangs on a rack, but I read that they were pre-washed, pre-shrunk (all of that good stuff) so I bought them.

All was well until I opened them.  I was immediately hit with the most powerful plastic smell I had ever experienced opening one of those packages.  I didn’t know if it was the fabric dye (they said it was pre-washed, so it shouldn’t be, right?) and I started wondering if it wasn’t just the chemicals in the plastic.

I remembered how my dear friend, Kevin, told me about how he and his partner got a brand new Memory Foam mattress and, immediately after starting to sleep on it, he got sick. He said it was an all-over “un-well” feeling that gave him stomach discomfort and even hallucinations!  Believe it or not, they tossed the mattress, bought a new one and he never had the symptoms again!

Naturally, with this experience (as odd experiences often do) it got me to thinking.  What about the vapors that come from plastics and fabricated materials… is there a danger?  There are plenty of things we aren’t supposed to breath in and could this be a growing concern? It’s something I, admittedly, know nothing about.  And I couldn’t find much information about it either, aside from Kev’s experience.

So this time, I have nothing to offer, but I’m asking for your help… What do you know?  Have you had an experience?  ARE there dangers?  Do we have another concern with how seemingly safe products come packaged?… Please…share!

I washed her jammies (don’t you love that word… it just implies “relaxing” and I love that!) and the smell went away, but I can’t help but believe there was something really strange going on there…

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9 thoughts on “Cute jammies! … now, what’s that smell!

  1. That doesn’t sound so great. I only buy pajamas from Hanna Andersson ( for my entire family — all their pajamas are organic and I have never had a problem with smell. Plus they are cute and awesome quality and last and last and last.

  2. Jammies are a hard one. First, conventional dyes are laden with toxic chemicals from heavy metals to formaldehyde. Preshrinking these days typically also involves formaldehyde. Then when it comes to sleepwear, to follow CPSC guidelines unless specified otherwise it is probably treated with fire retardants (which do not completely wash out). Finally there is the case of the jammies in the plastic bag; with this slew of chemicals being confined within a sealed bag for some time offgassing occurred but had not where to go and the smell was the indication of the chemicals (some of which may have also come from bag itself) and that you smelled them means you inhaled them. If in the future you run across a similar situation promptly take the item outside and let it air out.

  3. Lee – I have purchased from Hanna Andersson a few times but the $$ is the tough part. But I guess we get what we pay for!

    Tiffany – Thank you for the info…scary, but necessary to really know what’s happening here! Thanks for the insight!

  4. My dear sweet Dor (and Jim) now that you mention it…last year I purchased a new blanket for my bed and I admit it was not a high end purchase but your basic blanket. It came in one of those easy to carry “plastic” death bags and when I got home I couldn’t wait to put it on the bed and then wait for a cozy night of sleep. During the evening I was in my bedroom I thought I could smell something but wasn’t sure what it could be…I got into bed and then got out of bed…it really was that bad. I took it off the bed and put it in the other room, washed it, dried it and let it hang outside for the day then it seemed fine.

    I think we do need to be more careful of what we expose ourselves to. I used to buy shirts, jeans and sweaters and wear them without a care and now I would never wear anything without washing it first.

    Thanks again for making us think!!!!!

  5. Oh yeah, the dreaded off-gassing! If the PJs were 100% cotton (I think TCP ones are, except for a bit of lycra for stretch in the cuffs), then the smell was most likely from the plastic bag. I definitely avoid non-cotton PJs because of the flame retardants. Even still, I wash all new jammies in hot water with a cup of vinegar. I once read that this could help “strip” the chemicals from the fabric. Oh, and FYI, I saw organic cotton kids pajamas at Costco the other day for $10.

    Maras last blog post..Do You Get Eco-Guilt?

  6. Matt – see! You know exactly what I was referring to then! Can you imagine if I put on Hailey’s jammies, got in Kev’s bed and used your blanket?!?! That would be one toxic combination!

    Mara – thanks for the great input!…the jammies are definitely cotton, so I imagine you are right and the smell was likely lfrom the bag. I appreciate the wash “formula” too… and $10 ORGANIC cotton jammies… that’s almost unheard of. I appreciate that tip too…THANKS!

  7. Doreen – I actually found great organic cotton ones at Costco! And they are only $11! Can’t beat that.

    It frightens me to know the levels of chemicals in our blood from things that we’re not aware of and I do think you’re on to something. If the smell is that strong….something is not right. I’m totally with you! But I don’t have much to offer either!

  8. OneGreenMommy – More Costco organic cotton jammies! I need to get there!

    Matt – dear Matt! I was referring to what a lethal, toxic combination of CHEMICAL VAPORS that would be! Oh, your mind is so in the gutter! 🙂

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