Children's Clothing Law

Written by heather m. scroope
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  • Introduction

    Children's Clothing Law

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates there were 13 recalls of children's clothing items for March 2010, most relating to strangulation hazards. Know the facts about children's clothing laws to keep your child safe.

    Know the facts about children's clothing law. (kids clothing image by Nenad Djedovic from

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    Children's pyjamas must pass flammability tests that show the fabric is flame-resistant and will self-extinguish if it catches fire, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states. If the garment is not flame-resistant, it must be labelled as such and be tight-fitting according to strict measurement requirements, as loosefitting clothing is more prone to catching fire. "The purpose of the sleepwear standard was to protect children from the risk of injury from fire when children were unsupervised," according to Mary Toro of the CPSC. The regulations apply to sleepwear for children 9 months old to size 14.

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    Buttons, snaps, zippers and any metallic embellishments added to a garment must be tested for lead. The acceptable amount depends on the type of clothing or component, according to the CPSC. This regulation also pertains to the fabric itself, as some coatings, dyes and other aspects of the material's make-up contain lead, including thermal prints and thermal transfers.

    Clothing and its attachments must pass lead tests. (zipper image by Jovan Nikolic from

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    Children's upper outerwear such as jackets and sweatshirts with a hood and long drawstrings present a strangulation risk, according to the CPSC. Knots or attachments tied to the ends of these strings can get caught on other objects and drawstrings at the waist level and can pose a vehicular dragging hazard. The CPSC recommends manufacturers do not include upper drawstrings on children's clothing, but use snaps or other closures instead. If they do have drawstrings, caregivers should remove them. Lower drawstrings should extend no farther than 3 inches and be sewn in the middle to prevent one end from getting pulled longer on one side and getting snagged. In issuing its voluntary guidelines, the CPSC cited potential dangers associated with playground equipment, especially slides, as well as the risk from the lower drawstrings getting caught on school bus hand rails as a child exits the bus, the doors closing and the bus driver driving away, unknowingly dragging the student.

    Following voluntary drawstring standards helps reduce risks. (children in winter image by Marzanna Syncerz from

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    On August 14, 2009, Section 103 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was enacted and slated to go into effect one year later to provide a permanent tracking label on children's consumer goods. Under the regulation, the label must identify the manufacturer, private labeler, production date and location and cohort information, including batch or run number or other identification. In addition, "no product packaging, advertisements or labels can refer to any safety standard unless the product complies with that standard," according to the Act, which applies to products intended for children 12 years and younger.

    Children's products are required to have tracking labels. (Mannequins image by Pontus Edenberg from

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    Bicycle Helmets

    The Child Safety Protection Act of 1994 mandates that children's bicycle helmets pass tests to ensure they do not fall off and adequately shield the head in a fall or crash; provide more head coverage for children 1 to 5; contain straps that resist breaking or becoming elongated during an accident; and provide 40.6 degrees C of peripheral vision. Helmets must include labels stating they comply with the regulations.

    Helmets protect bike riders during a fall or collision. (Girl Staing on Road Inside Park With Bicycle and Helmet image by Andrei Merkulov from

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