Choosing Clothes for Babies and Toddlers

When choosing clothing most of us look for style, fashion and price. But have you stopped to consider how safe your baby’s clothes are? Check out our safety guideline below to find out what you should look for and what manufacturers are required to do by law.

Clothes for babies
Babies are inquisitive and will pull at their clothes. Buttons are potential choking hazards, make sure they are secure as babies and toddlers may think they are toys or something to eat. It is interesting to remember that it is against the law for any part of a piece of clothing to look like food if it puts the child in danger, i.e. if they look like sweets. Avoid hats with pompoms that may come loose and check that ties and ribbons are securely sewn on rather than glued or tied. Take extra care with clothes that are made from fur, although trendy and cute they could be a potential choking hazard as a small baby will pull on the fur and put it in their mouth. Novelty accessories should conform to toy regulations.

Make sure mittens and gloves don’t have loose threads; these could potentially trap babies fingers. Although it is nice to knit your own clothes for your baby, don’t knit with nylon wool in lacy patterns. Never put your baby to bed with anything around their neck, including braces or a necklace. This rule also applies to soothers, don’t tie a soother around your baby’s neck, use soother accessories like a clip that is designed to hold a soother or toy and will unclip easily if pulled upon.

Take care your baby doesn’t get too hot. It can be very dangerous and could be a major contributor towards cot death. Always remove outdoor clothes when indoors, even in the car or on the bus. Modern fabrics like fleece are designed to keep the warmth in, you may only need one layer. Never put a baby to sleep in a hat as they regulate their head through their head.

Nightwear
Manufacturers are required by law to use material that is difficult to set on fire for nightwear, pyjamas are ideal as they are close fitting and less likely to catch on fire. Don’t let your child wear clothes that aren’t nightwear; i.e. t-shirts as they could easily catch fire.

Summer
Clothes for summer should protect your baby from the sun and the heat. Use a hat that has a brim and a flap which protects the neck. Make sure the back; shoulders and arms are covered with clothing that has a close fitting weave, for example a t-shirt. Sunglasses should carry a British Standard number BS 2724 on the label.

Boys
Take extra care with zip fly trousers on boys as they may catch themselves. Try to use pull on trousers with an elasticated waistband rather than a zip fly for young babies. Look for a wide flap behind the zip if they have one and make sure little boys are careful if pulling the zip themselves.

Clothes for outdoors
Cords can be extremely dangerous and are illegal in this country as babies can easily be strangled if vehicles or doors catch the cord. It is a good idea to remove any cords around the neck or hood (if you are buying abroad), choose garments with an elasticated hood or a removable hood. Cords around the waist or bottom of a garment shouldn’t hang more than 7.5cm. Make sure they haven’t got anything at the end such as a knot or fixed toggle that might get caught. A spring toggle, which can move, or a bootlace end is safer. If the toggle is removable take care your baby doesn’t put it in their mouth.

Clothes that fit
It may be tempting to buy clothes that allow for growth, but if clothes are too long children may trip over and hurt themselves. Click here for our sizing guide.

Finally, avoid long shoelaces and make sure footwear has a non-slip sole to reduce the risk of a toddler slipping over. If you have any worries read labels and swing tags, which may give warnings.

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