A Fire Marshall is warning about the dangers of liquid fabric softener after a young girl’s nightgown went up in flames on June 27, causing second- and third-degree burns on 75 percent of her body.
On Wednesday morning, Addie Perrenoud, 9, struck a match while in her bathroom, presumably to light a candle. Seconds later, however, her homemade flannel nightgown, which may have been washed with liquid fabric softener, caught on fire and engulfed her body in flames.
As Clark County Assistant Fire Marshall Richard Martin told ABCNews, “From the time the girl’s mother heard her daughter starting to scream until mom had the fire out was probably less than a minute.” However, the little girl sustained severe burns over most of her body before her mother could tackle her to the floor and put the fire out.
At first, fire investigators suspected an accelerant such as hairspray or air freshener caused the fire. However, now a liquid fabric softener from Downy is being investigated as a possible accelerant.
As reported on Fox News, the liquid fabric softener carries the following warning:
“Do not use this product on children’s sleepwear or garments labeled as flame resistant as it may reduce flame resistance. Do not use on garments made with fluffier fabrics containing cotton (such as fleece and terry cloth) as it may increase the flammability of these fabrics.”
The nightgown that the little girl was wearing was purportedly three years old and therefore presumed to be washed dozens of times, reports The Columbian. After being washed so many times, probably with liquid fabric softener, the fibers of the nightgown would have fluffed off, causing the garment to have more surface area, which would burn faster. Any flame retardants present on the original fabric would also have been degraded as a result of the liquid fabric softener.
As of Friday afternoon, Addie was listed in critical condition at the Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.
Will you rethink the use of liquid fabric softeners on your children’s clothing?