As the parent of a toddler, your home transforms into a safe zone -- baby bumpers, socket covers, window guards and stove shields keep your little one safe from sharp edges, shocks, falls and burns. With all these environmental safety gadgets, it is easy to forget that your tot's clothes can pose a threat, too. In general, toddler clothes are manufactured to meet certain safety standards, but it never hurts to pay a little extra attention to what you buy for your child to wear.
Many federal safety regulations for toddler clothing target flammability and sleepwear. For instance, the ConsumerReports.org reports that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires sleepwear made for sizes from 9 months to 14 to be made of flame-resistant fabric or feature a snug fit so that it is less likely to catch fire. As such, don't buy oversized sleepwear or dress your toddler in baggy clothes when it's time for bed. Size isn't an issue for flame-resistant duds, which are often made of polyester or feature non-toxic fire-retardant treatments. As far as untreated fabrics go, 100-percent wool and silk tend to be less combustible -- and more breathable -- than acrylics, cotton-polyester blends and rayon, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Drawstrings, cords, and straps -- all common strangulation hazards -- are a big no-no when it comes to toddler clothes, according to both CPSC standards and European standards from the General Product Safety Directive. The CPSC and ConsumerReports.org recommend removing all drawstrings when your child reaches size 2T. Keep an eye out for any bite-sized clothing accessories that pose a choking hazard for your toddler. Common dangers include small buttons or easy-to-remove appliques, beads, bows, hooks, pom-poms, sequins or snaps. Avoid tight-fitting elastic bands anywhere on your toddler's clothes, as they restrict circulation and may even cause skin irritation.
Toddler mobility presents all kinds of safety issues, concerning both the safety of your baby and the safety of all your belongings she comes in contact with. On the same note, you'll need the right shoes to keep her feet safe. Choose flexible kicks -- try bending them in half before buying -- that provide just a little wiggle room for the toes. Avoid buying oversized shoes, as they may lead to painful trips. Look for strong traction to prevent slipping and go with laces to prevent your child from taking her shoes off when you're not looking. Turn socks inside-out to check for toe-tangling threads before you put them on your toddler.
Before you dress your tyke, check her clothes for loose buttons, fasteners or accessories and snip any wild threads, which may get wrapped around tiny digits. Likewise, loose knits and seams with too few stitches per inch may tangle toes and fingers. If your toddler has sensitive skin, it's wise to avoid heat-transferred labels; ConsumerReports.org notes that some little ones experience skin rash from contact with these labels, common on “tagless” shirts. Keep an eye on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website for any safety recalls in the children's clothing category.
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