The only thing louder than an outfit chosen by a toddler is her protests when you tell her to pick something else to wear. There’s nothing wrong with letting Baby to make the world her runway, but it’s important to make sure she is strutting her stuff safely. Just as you’ve baby-proofed your home, you’ll also want to doublecheck her clothing for any hidden hazards.
- Dangling attachments: You may not associate clothing with danger, but dangling attachments on can pose a serious risk for little ones. Drawstrings on sweatshirts, for example, can present a strangulation hazard if they get caught on something. If you get a shirt for Baby that has a drawstring around the neck or hood, it’s best to remove it entirely. Similarly, drawstrings at the waist of pants can be caught in things like car doors, so such strings should either be kept very short or tied. For shoes, velcro is a safer bet for an unsteady, early walker than laces, which can come undone and easily trip a young child. Finally, remember to check clothing frequently for any loose or hanging threads, as they can easily wrap around tiny fingers and toes.
- Small pieces: Beads, buttons, and applique sure can make for dapper designs, but they’re best avoided when it comes to toddler attire. Young children are often more rough with their possessions than adults – clothing included. Wear and tear can cause small pieces to come loose and pose a choking hazard. If you can’t resist a certain piece that fits in this category, be sure all pieces stay securely attached.
- Flammability: Sleepwear for children 9 months and older, per federal regulations, must be flame-resistant or snug-fitting. Flame-resistant pajamas are made from flame-retardant material that does not continue to burn when removed from a flame, while snug-fitting jammies reduce the risk of loose fabrics and flaps being caught on an open flame. If you’re unsure of which you’re purchasing, check the tag, which should state whether the garment is flame-resistant or snug-fitting.
Though clothing-related injuries aren’t very common, it’s important to keep tabs on whether the clothes you’re buying are safe. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission posts recalls on items that are deemed unsafe – clothing included. Check out the list for up-to-date recalls.