How Safe are Children’s Clothes?

Last month, Next recalled two of their child’s clothing range amid safety concerns. Two of their winter coats were deemed to be a choking hazard due to buttons that could become detached and, potentially, swallowed. As one of the UK’s largest retailers of children’s clothes, this could mean thousands of households are affected.

Every parent is usually aware of the normal dangers around the home to protect their kids from, such as lit candles, small parts, and electrical items, but few of us would ever think that what we dress them in could be as much of a risk to our little ones.

As award winning retailers of gender neutral clothes, Kidult & Co take safety very seriously, so let’s have a look at how clothes can harm and what we can do about it.

Fire hazards and kid’s clothes

I’m sure everyone remembers poor Claudia Winkeman’s little girl having that awful experience where her Halloween costume caught fire. Claudia said at the time that her child was dressed in a supermarket witch’s costume when her leg brushed against a candle and very quickly caught fire. Because fancy dress costumes are classified as toys, they did not have to undergo the test usually carried out on clothes and were allowed to burn much faster.

But now, new voluntary guidelines by the British Retail Consortium suggest that toys should have a burn rate of 10mm per second. Previously, they were allowed up to 30mm per second.

Lets just think about that. If your child’s costume sets alight, it might take you a minute to react and put the fire out. 10mm per second means that within 1 minute, a child’s costume could have burnt over half a meter up their body. That is a terrifying thought for any parent. And the guidelines are voluntary.

The scary fact is, not many clothes are required to be flame retardant.

The only clothes that have any sort of regulations n them is nightwear, in particular, nighties. The Nightwear Safety Regulations mean that even after washing, certain types of nightwear have to comply with the British standard, BS5722. I won’t bore you with what this standard says, but you can read all about it here. If clothes have passed the fire safety test, the label should inform you of this.

Clothes that do not have to comply with the act include pyjamas, clothes for babies up to 3 months old, or terry towelling robes. (For specific details, have a look here) But even these unregulated clothes have to be tested-it just means they can be sold with clear labels on. If the garment hasn’t passed the test, the label must state ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’. If it has passed the test, the label should carry one, or both, of the following.

  • Red text stating ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’
  • Black text stating ‘LOW FLAMMABILITY TO BS 5722’

Strangulation Risks in Clothes

Here at Kidult & Co, we bloomin’ well love a hoodie. They’re comfy, casual and keep you warm on chilly days. But they can also be dangerous if they have a drawstring around the neck. The strings can get entangled and pull tighter, strangling the wearer to death. That is why none of our unisex hoodies have drawstrings on. Zips all the way for us!

In the 1970s, there were a lot of drawstring related strangulations and many children, sadly, lost their lives. Currently, clothes with drawstrings around the neck are often recalled as being unsafe. But they are still sold.

Have a look through your kid’s (and your own) wardrobes to check for any drawstrings and cut them off! It isn’t worth the risk. Frequent offenders are coats, cardigans, and hoodies.

Choking Hazards in Children’s Clothes

Like the coats from Next, some kid’s clothes have buttons that are just the right size to get stuck in a little windpipe (which is about the size of a grape). Most parents know to chop grapes in half to prevent a choking incident, but I bet many never considered their little one pulling a button off a coat and ramming it in their mouth.
It’s a very real risk-anyone who has ever met a toddler knows they put everything in their mouth, and their grip is strong (hair pull-ouch!). Those buttons don’t stand a chance.

The best way to protect your monsters is to buy clothing with press studs or zips and leave the cute pea coats until they are older.

Are Kidult & Co clothes safe?

Absolutely! Because we make clothes for kids (as well as adults) we make sure we take extra care with the safety features of our clothes. Our clothes are made from 100% ethically sourced cotton, naturally dyed and, crucially have not loose bits kids can choke on.

And it’s not too late to grab a Christmas present from our Christmas range here. A present that won’t kill you, is a good present in our eyes.

Kidult & Co, unisex clothing designers for fearless kids, explore the safety of clothes for children and how to make sure your kids are safe.

We’ve got just the bold, sassy, gender-neutral kids’ clothing designs that will help your kids express their freedom and individuality whilst staying safe.

Email us at, or fill out the contact form on our website. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.