A major step in your toddler's development of independence is learning how to dress himself. He'll love being able to express himself directly through his clothing choices. Ensure that he is safe, regardless of what he decides to wear, by purchasing clothing that reduces or eliminates significant safety concerns, such as choking and strangulation.
1. Upper Drawstrings
Many sweatshirts have drawstrings that tighten or loosen to make the hood adjust to each toddler's form. Drawstrings on outerwear pose a significant safety hazard if it snags on other objects, especially slides and other play equipment. There were 18 deaths and 38 injuries directly related to drawstrings getting caught from January 1985 through September 2009. Purchase clothing and outerwear without drawstrings, or immediately pull or cut the drawstring before allowing your toddler to wear it to eliminate the risk of strangulation.
2. Lower Drawstrings
Pants and shorts also have drawstrings to ensure they don't fall down while your toddler is running around and exploring the world around him. The waist adjusts as your toddler grows, which makes the clothing last much longer. However, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires that no more than 3 inches of the drawstring be exposed when it is pulled to its maximum tightness. They also advise parents to purchase clothing where the drawstring is stitched completely through clothing to prevent it from being removed by curious toddlers. If pulled out completely, the string has the potential to get wrapped around her neck.
Sleepwear is the clothing category in which safety is a primary concern because 80 deaths and 750 injuries are associated with clothing flammability each year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has established standards that require all sleepwear larger than 9 months in size to be made of flame resistant or a tight-fitting material. Flame resistant materials don't burn when they are pulled away from a flame source such as a space heater or match. Tight-fitting clothes reduce burn risk because they don't easily ignite and if they do ignite they won't burn steadily.
4. Buttons and Snaps
Buttons and snaps are found on many items of toddler clothing, including shorts, pants, dresses, skirts and shirts. They are safe while attached to the item, but check each item of clothing on a regular basis to ensure that they aren't loose and at risk of falling or being pulled off. Small items such as buttons present a choking hazard to young children.
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