What goes into our bodies is super important, and we want the best. But what about what goes on our bodies? More particularly, what about what goes on our kids’ bodies, especially when they’re sleeping?
Kids sleep anywhere between seven and 13 hours a day (so we hear) and love to hang out in their pajamas for even longer (who doesn’t?). What should we be considering when we’re looking for the best kids pajamas and where can we find those dream makers?
Why Are Clean And Green Pajamas Important?
Think about a great casual day…you’re probably snuggled in your jammies and so are the kids and some board game fun is on the agenda, right? Who doesn’t love pajamas all day long? And let’s be real–there’s something so adorable about kids in cute pajamas (especially matching holiday ones!) that almost makes your uterus hurt.
And if you think about the fact that pajamas are such a hot commodity when it comes to home clothes choices, it’s vital that what we’re putting on our kids is quality. Babies can often spend up to 16 hours (or more when newborn) in pajamas, and kids are in them at least the duration of every night. It’s for these reasons that what your pajamas are made of and treated with is so important.
Federal law has specifications for kids’ pajamas. Yes, clothing items specifically labeled as or for pajamas that come in sizes nine months to size 14 have to either fit snuggly (like super snuggly) or be flame resistant. As fire can be lethal in the middle of the night when all are sleeping, requiring kids sleepwear to be more protective in an emergency event may save their lives.
Typically, kids’ pajamas are made from cottons or polyesters. Not all cotton is the same, and it’s important to know the differences. Because cotton is highly flammable, it should always be worn tightly and when they are snug-fitting, they do not usually contain flame retardants.
Not all cotton pajamas are loose-fitting, though, and so even if you think you’re more eco-friendly and natural with cotton pajamas, you may still be exposing them to chemical flame retardants. Those loose-fitting 100% cotton pajamas are harder to come by these days, though, and you’ll typically find loose-fitting pajamas to be made of polyester or polyester-cotton blends.
The Skinny On Cotton: Organic Vs. Non-Organic
Believe it or not, cotton is not as ecologically friendly as we would like to believe. It takes a lot–say around 5300 gallons of water to produce a little over two pounds of cotton. Do you know how much two pounds of cotton is? A t-shirt and a pair of jeans, maybe.
Still, cotton is a popular pick for children’s clothing in general, but especially pajamas because it is easy to clean and soft. And, when you buy snug-fitting pajamas, you eliminate the exposure to flame retardants.
But there is a difference between organic cotton and non-organic cotton, and not just in price. When it comes to health risk exposure for humans and animals, as well as environmental impact, organic cotton is unmatchable compared to non-organic cotton.
Non-organic cotton still exposes your children to chemicals, even if not flame retardants. About 2.5% of the world’s cropland is used for cotton, but cotton plants account for a quarter of the insecticides and over a tenth of all pesticides used globally. Not only do these insecticides and pesticides destroy the natural habitats and environments of insects and animals, but they play a significant role in health impact for field workers too.
And, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of genetically modified cotton lately too. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture states that 94% (yikes!) of the cotton grown in the United States is genetically modified.
We’re not eating the cotton, so you may ask why genetically modified cotton is an issue. Fair enough. Research continues to show how genetically modified crops and seeds harm animals, insects, the environment and humans. In fact, specifically regarding genetically modified cotton, it has been shown to kill livestock that has eaten it. Farmworkers who work with genetically modified cotton have reported illness of skin and respiratory systems as well.
Since we spend so much of our life in pajamas and sleepwear, if you’re going to choose cotton pajamas, the best kids pajamas will be made of organic cotton.
Polyester: A Better Alternative?
In a few words? Not really. Though polyester is naturally flame resistant and therefore not loaded with flame retardant chemicals, they’re still not a super eco-friendly or skin sensitive material. They are safer and less toxic than a pair of pajamas that is covered in chemical flame retardants but creating polyester has a horrible environmental impact. It’s made from petroleum, which is not great for the skin by any standard, but also depletes resources and creates pollution in the process.
Flame Retardants In Kids Pajamas: What’s The Big Deal?
Many parents believe that exposing their children to some chemicals may be a way better option than having them wear pajamas that end up in flames while their child is wearing them. The problem is that our skin is our body’s largest organ, and we know that flame retardants have been linked to delayed physical and mental development, thyroid dysfunction, early onsets of puberty, obesity and even neurodevelopmental problems and learning ability.
Yes, exposure on your skin is a big problem, but even bigger is that the flame retardant chemicals can also leech into our environment as they’re applied and used. As children’s clothing tend to be more flame resistant (chemically) than adults, they are at even higher risk of exposure.
Ever notice those ginormous tags on children’s pajamas? When you’re looking for the best kids pajamas, read them. The big yellow tags will tell you that the garment needs to fit snugly and is not flame-resistant. These are most likely 100% cotton pajamas.
The white tags tell you that a child’s garment should be snug-fitting or flame resistant,’ and then the tag also tells you that the garment is flame resistant. That means that it is either made from a synthetic material like polyester that inherently flame-resistant OR doused in flame-resistant chemicals.
It will behoove you greatly, and more importantly, your children, when looking for the best kids pajamas to read labels carefully and pay attention not only to materials but those tags too.
Natural Fibers For The Win?
What about natural fiber pajamas? While you may start immediately scratching at the thought of ‘wool’ pajamas, it turns out that lambswool is actually cozy, breathable and oh-so-soft. Researchers at Cambridge University found that when babies are swaddled in lambswool, they had better sleep, reduced stress, improved weight gain and greater contentment. And, sustainably and humanely sourced lambswool can be good for our kids and for the environment. For many parents, though, the issue with lambswool is cost, and we can understand that completely.
Alternatively, many eco-friendly companies are turning to bamboo for soft and sustainably made kids clothing. Bamboo is still a bit pricier a material, but as more consumers turn to these natural and sustainable materials for clothing, we hope the pricepoints will also continue to be driven down. The same goes for linen, which are luxurious, breathable and naturally antimicrobial–but also costly when it comes to pajamas kids outgrow quickly.
Now that we’ve given you the rundown on what you want to look for, check out what we’ve found to be the best kids pajamas around.
Night-Night: The Best Kids Pajamas
We’re suckers for a good backstory (and you should be too; company stories make a difference in their products!) and we love Elephant Organics’ start. They came to be all because a grandfather sought the best for his newborn granddaughter. Their founder learned very quickly when searching for quality clothing for his granddaughter that the organic pajama market was a bit on the thin side. He teamed up with moms who wanted to bring quality clothing that was free of chemicals and pesticides and he wanted to make sure they were created in an eco-friendly and ethical way. We love that you can trace the entire supply chain for Elephant Organics pieces and they are super soft and made from premium organic cotton.
And they are so stinking cute! While the initial lines started they were for a little granddaughter, but the team quickly realized they wanted to create better options for all little ones. The sizes range from newborn to youth 14, and we can’t lie; we are in love with the Mommy and Me matching lines.
Fun designs, high quality, eco-friendly and sustainably made–we’re sure you’ll find Elephant Organics staples you won’t want to be without!
Carter’s is well-known for being an industry leader for children’s clothing, and their Little Planet Line has soft, organic cotton pajamas and pajama sets. Whether you’re looking for 1-piece, 2-piece or gown pajama options for your little one, Little Planet has several options.
And, Carter’s so knows the value of comfy and cozy pajamas for kiddos, they support the Pajama Program. The Pajama Program is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports and promotes comforting bedtime routines for children. The Pajama Program helps children who are affected by instability and may not have a home or bed in which they lay their little heads. Carter’s runs their clothing drive each holiday season and customers get to be part of the giving as well by donating in-store or online during the campaign dates.
The Little Planet Organics line is made from premium certified 100% cotton, and you can be sure your little one rests easy in all the pieces.
Like we said, wool is a natural fiber that is perfect for the delicate skin of a little. These Woolino Merino wool pajamas are even softer and finer, and they regulate your child’s temperature while they also manage moisture during their sleep.
Woolino came to be when Mimi, the founder, had her first baby. She spent hours researching the best sleepwear for babies (like we all do) and she wanted to do everything she could do to minimize the risk of SIDS. She worried about suffocation from blankets and overheating and that’s when she realized the old-world sleeping sacks might be just the trick.
The problem was that Mimi couldn’t find sleep sacks that were made of materials she felt good about. She was an outdoor person and knew merino wool’s qualities for soft, safe and breathable blankets were unmatched. It was during that night feeding she decided she’d look into making a merino wool baby sleep sack because surprise, there weren’t any.
After the insane success of the Woolino Sleep Sack, Woolino branched out to swaddling blankets, bodysuits and pajamas, and we love this gender neutral set.
The Merino naturally wicks, and is also inherently flame resistant, and much more easy to care for than many think wool might be. It’s machine washable and dries quickly and it’s perfect snug-fitting design fits like a glove. It’s tag-less so there’s no irritation on your kiddo’s back and sizes go into the elementary years.
Silkberry Baby is known for trendy, comfortable (oh, and adorable) clothing for kids through six-years-old. They’re made of eco-friendly and sustainable fabric and the natural theme-inspired pieces are designed by moms in Vancouver, Canada. They’re boutique look and feel without being boutique outrageously priced, and the soft bamboo rayon and organic cotton feel luxurious on your little one’s skin. They’re also made with azo-free dyes, which takes the metallic component out of dyes and protects your little one from allergy reaction. And we love that Silkberry cares about their impact on our earth when they’re making each piece.
It can be so hard to find organic pajamas for our bigger littles, and we love that Hatley helps keep them little a little longer. Not to mention, we love that the Hatley line is still part of a family-run business, started back in the 80s as Little Blue House in North Hatley, Quebec. Hatley has stood for quality products that give back, and they are committed to ethical manufacturing processes. Much of their apparel production happens in Tirupur, India, and the leaders of Hatley travel to their factories there every three months to be involved and ensure fair trade practices. Additionally, they sponsor The Open Door Mercy Home Trust, an orphanage that is home to 14 boys and eight girls, and as sponsors, they fund the rent, food, clothing, school supplies and even educations of the orphans.
Their organic pajama line is made of eco-friendly 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and fits snugly. The pajamas are machine washable with comfy elastic waistbands and we can’t get enough of the fun prints Hatley offers.
Skylar Luna pajamas are eco-friendly and trendy, inspired by California-style. Skylar Luna was created to offer parents stylish and socially conscious kids pajamas, and they use yarn-dyed organic cotton and simple designs to do so. They’ve won lots of recognition from the likes of Vogue, Style Magazine and Who What Wear, celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Chrissy Tiegen can’t get enough of Skylar Luna either. They’re committed to environmentally-minded practices (they package their kids’ pajamas in reusable linen bags) and they’re super cozy and comfy for your kiddos.
Get ready to fall in love with the entrepreneurial spirit of a little girl named Eloise! Mightly’s backstory comes from her, a little girl who loved to play and loved looking awesome! She and her mom realized they needed to come together if they were going to be able to find clothes that were tough enough for all Eloise’s play, comfort and style needs while at the same time, be clothes that were good for the planet.
What’s a girl to do? Well, become an Entrepreneur, as Eloise says, and design the things you want to have. Eloise became the Chief Kid Officer and together with Santa Cruz, California-based designer and artist Lili Arnold, Mightly makes fun clothes that are tough, eco-friendly and reasonably priced so families can afford them. Eloise (and the adults she collaborates with) use fun kid-friendly graphics on GOTS certified organic cotton pajamas that are non-toxic and kind to the earth. They’re machine washable and fun, too, and are available in several patterns and kids sizes.
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