Excess fabric can catch more easily than snug-fitting outfits.

Safety Rules for Children's Clothes

by Christina Schnell

You want everything you provide for your child to be safe -- and clothing is no exception. Not only do children use their bodies in different ways, which can increase the risk of certain styles and accessories, but their small stature makes certain clothing features more hazardous than if similar items were worn by adults. Some aspects of children's clothing safety apply to everyday activities, while other safety concerns are specific to particular activities or conditions.

1. Drawstrings

Hoodies and sweatpants with cinching drawstrings are hazardous, which is why children's clothing companies can't make them anymore, though they still exist in hand-me-down bins and thrift stores, according to the Consumer Product and Safety Commission. Drawstrings that tighten through a covered loop or toggle can get caught on playground equipment, fences, elevators and escalators causing injury and strangulation. Jacket drawstrings that catch in closing bus or subway doors have actually dragged children behind, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. For this reason, any drawstrings should be purely decorative, meaning they can't be pulled tight, and not hang more than 3 inches outside your child's clothing.

2. Pajamas

Your children should be safest when they're sleeping, which is why children's clothing marketed and sold as sleepwear or pajamas must be tight-fitting or made of flame-resistant material. Although the flame-resistant material used for children's nightgowns, baggy or loose-fitting pajama bottoms and bathrobes feels slightly coarse, it takes longer to catch fire than cotton. Snug-fitting cotton pajamas resembling long underwear are not required to be made of flame-resistant material, but their tight fit makes them less likely to catch a flame like loose-fitting sleepwear, according to the Consumer Product and Safety Commission.

3. Costumes

Anyone with young children knows they enjoy wearing costumes throughout the year, not just on Halloween. Costumes, like pajamas, should be made of synthetic fibers, like polyester and nylon, so they're less likely to catch fire, according to the Consumer Product and Safety Commission. Though there are no requirements regarding fit, you should be mindful that billowing skirts and ankle-length capes can catch easily and cause your child to trip and fall. Never tie capes and shawls around your child's neck; instead, use small tabs of Velcro to attach the ribbon so it's not a strangulation hazard.

4. Outside Activity Safety

Whether your child is riding her bike or playing outside, her clothing should follow certain safety rules. Bike helmets with multiple reflective strips are essential. Look for the CSPC sticker inside the helmet to make sure it's been properly tested and always make sure your child's helmet fits properly, according to KidsHealth.org. Bright-colored clothing, ideally with reflective strips, is optimal for biking and playing outside. While long pants can protect your child's legs while biking or playing, loose-fitting or baggy clothing or dresses can also catch on bike chains or playground equipment, according to KidsHealth.org.

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