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Clothes safety for babies and children

Clothing, jewellery and accessories can strangle, suffocate or cause other serious injury to a baby or small child. 

They can get caught around their neck. They can also get caught in equipment, play equipment, bicycles and other everyday items. Jewellery is also a choking risk.

Do not dress your baby or child in clothes that have:

  • cords
  • drawstrings

Look out for cords or drawstrings in children’s clothes that fall below the sleeve or hem of the clothing. These are also a risk to your child.

Buy children's clothes that are made of low-risk fire material.

Cords and drawstrings in children's clothes

Never put anything on a baby or child that has cords or drawstrings attached to it. These can strangle a baby or child if they get caught around their neck.

Items to avoid include:

  • hoodies or other tops with cords or drawstrings
  • hats with cords or strings
  • headbands
  • hairbands
  • belts
  • ribbons
  • necklaces
  • other jewellery including bracelets, anklets and ear rings
  • amber teething jewellery
  • bags or purses with straps
  • soothers with chains or ribbons

Young children’s clothes should not have cords or drawstrings in the hood or neck area. If there are any cords in the hood and neck area, make sure they are not made of elastic.

Avoid children’s clothes that tie at the front with long belts or sashes. 

Scarfs on children can be a strangulation risk if they get caught in any equipment or everyday items, including play equipment.

Functional and decorative cords

Some clothing may have functional cords. You may also find decorative cords at the bottom of long-legged trousers.

If either of these type of cords are in your children's clothing, make sure they are stitched and secured on the inside of the garment. Make sure that the cords do not trail below the sleeve or hem of clothing. Make sure any homemade clothes do not have trailing cords or strings.

Buy children's clothes made of low-risk fire material

Buy children's clothes that are made of low-risk fire material.

Children's nightwear such as night dresses must follow Irish safety standards. Look out for 'low flammability to I.S. 148' on labels.

Clothes that do not meet this standard have 'Keep away from fire' on the label. This will be written in capital letters and in red font.

Fancy dress and Halloween costumes

Fancy dress costumes are seen as toys in the eyes of safety authorities. They must meet the flammability standard EN 71-2. Only buy clothes with the approved certification mark. This is a mark on the label that says 'CE'.

Safety tips when buying Halloween costumes -

Bibs and child safety

There is a strangulation risk from bibs.

Always remove bibs:

  • after feeding
  • before you place your baby or child to sleep

Do not leave your baby or child unsupervised if they are wearing a bib.

Shoes and your child

Dress toddlers and young children in clothes and shoes with Velcro fastenings, elastic or snap fasteners.

Only buy shoes with laces when your child is older and can manage laces themselves.

Choking, strangulation and suffocation risks to your child

Page last reviewed: 10 November 2022
Next review due: 10 November 2025