Clothes safety for babies and children

Clothing, jewellery and accessories can strangle, suffocate or cause other serious injuries 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.

You should 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.

This includes:

  • hoodies or other tops with cords or drawstrings
  • hats with cords or strings
  • headbands
  • hairbands
  • belts
  • ribbons
  • necklaces
  • other jewellery including bracelets, anklets and earrings
  • 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, these should not be made of elastic.

You should 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. Do not allow them to 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

You should buy children's clothes that are made of low-risk fire material.

Children's nightwear, including nightdresses, have to follow Irish safety standards. Look out for 'low flammability to I.S. 148' on labels.

Clothes that don't meet this standard should 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'.

Read information from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) on safety tips when buying Halloween costumes

Bibs and child safety

Always remove bibs after feeding and before you place your baby or child down to sleep. This is because there is a strangulation risk to your child from bibs. This can happen both when your child is awake or being placed down to sleep.

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.

Page last reviewed: 17 June 2019
Next review due: 17 June 2022