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Things to Consider When Buying Clothes for Babies and Children

April 12, 2014

Let’s be honest, one of the most fun parts of parenthood is dressing up our little ones in cute outfits. Chances are your child has far more outfits than you! Nothing makes us happier than taking a stroll around a shop that sells clothes for kids and picking out things that we want them to wear. While we want our children to look cute and stylish, one important thing to get right when choosing their clothes is the fabrics. We also need to be aware of any potential risks or choking hazards. When you become a parent you become acutely aware that danger is everywhere, but you might not have even considered clothing items to be a risk. Here are a few things to consider.

Materials

Regardless of how cute an item of clothing looks, the choice to buy it should always come down to the material. It’s not to say you need to buy the most expensive items in the world, but each piece should feel well made with the fabric being soft and smooth. We know as adults how irritating an itchy woollen jumper or a clothes tag can be, so imagine these kinds of things on a baby or child whose skin is even more delicate. One thing to bear in mind is that cotton is a crop, but as it’s not designed to be eaten it can be treated with harsh chemicals and pesticides. These can remain on clothing items even after being washed, and as children’s skin is more porous, there’s more chance of them being absorbed. Worryingly, pesticides have been linked to all kinds of mental and physical problems, so it’s better to be on the safe side if you can. You can do this by choosing organic cotton for anything that will directly touch your child’s skin, such as pyjamas and sleep suits, underwear and any kind of under garments. You will already know to avoid man made materials such as polyester, acrylic, nylon, and rayon as they’re not breathable and can lead to overheating. Chances are you won’t come across any baby or children’s clothes made of these things- but if you’re buying from abroad it’s something to check. Other countries don’t have the same high safety standards. Be wary of buying things like fancy dress costumes too as these can be made from these kinds of cheaper materials. Designer items might be pricey but generally use the best materials, you could add one or two items into their wardrobe if you wanted. A Burberry scarf like these at Nicki’s are an example. It would be soft on the skin, keep them warm in winter and is something that will last for years since you don’t really grow out of a scarf.

Accessories and Choking Hazards

Again in this country we have high safety standards for things like childrens clothes, but it’s important to remain cautious. Be especially aware of these things if you’re purchasing things from abroad online. Anything sewed onto a child’s clothing item could be choked on– buttons, bows, strings of lace, beads, sequins- any embellishments shouldn’t be able to be pulled off and swallowed. Another thing to be aware of is cords, we all know children can get up to mischief when our backs are turned for two seconds so you don’t want anything that could be a choking or strangulation hazard. Choose designs that are either printed onto the fabric or embroidered on, be wary of extra buttons being sewn in and anything that’s sewn on could possibly be pulled off and choked on so is best to be avoided.

Stretch and Quality

Children are active creatures, and need to be able to run around and play without feeling restricted. So childrens clothes should reflect this, ideally things should have a little stretch allowing freedom of movement as well as comfort. For babies, things like leggings work well for both genders especially when they’re rolling around on the floor and crawling. Look for clothes that either have stretch or that make it easy to get on and off, you don’t want to be tugging clothing over your child’s head or making getting your baby dressed even more difficult! Things like poppers at the shoulders can be helpful, go with things that are easy to fasten and are made well. Kids and babies are messy and often need re-dressing multiple times a day. You need items that are going to stand up to being taken on and off without losing their shape, or going baggy and loose. Footwear is another example, babies shouldn’t wear hard bottom shoes as this can restrict growth, instead elasticated booties will be easy to get on and off. Once your child is in proper shoes, you will want to make sure they’re supportive enough and good quality, but without spending a fortune since they grow out of them so quickly. Find a store selling good quality footwear at affordable prices, and regularly have your child’s feet measured. For cute little outfits you can buy cheaper and buy lots of them, but for items that are going to be washed and worn lots of times it’s worth spending a little more for quality.

There’s a lot that goes into buying clothing for your child. On one hand you want them to look cute, but the items also need to be practical and meet all health and safety rules. Bear these tips in mind next time you shop for your child and baby, so you can make an informed decision. As parents we want to do what’s best for our child, and these kinds of details make all the difference to their health and comfort.

Had you put much thought into these elements of baby and children’s clothing? Is this something you would be more aware of in future?

*This is a contributed post

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