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Child Safety

Clothing Safety for Children

Clothing is an important part of our everyday lives. It keeps us warm and protects us from the weather. It may seem surprising, but clothing can also be dangerous for children.

To help protect your child from getting hurt by clothing always:

  • Make sure that you or an adult you trust is watching over your child.
  • Dress your child in the right clothing for every activity they’re doing.

How can clothing harm children?

The clothes children wear every day can cause injuries. A child can:

  • Be strangled if a hood or drawstring gets caught on playground equipment, fences, or in car or bus doors.
  • Choke on buttons that come loose on their clothes.
  • Get burned very badly if their clothes catch fire.
  • Get very sick if they swallow a button battery. These are very small batteries in clothing such as flashing shoes.
  • Fall down and get hurt if their shoes don’t fit or have good grip.
  • Hurt their back, neck, or shoulders if their backpack is too heavy or doesn’t fit.

How can I dress my child to protect them from getting strangled?

  • Take all drawstrings and cords out of your child’s clothes.
  • Don’t let your child wear a scarf or helmet when they play on playground equipment.
  • Check that belts, ties, and sashes are firmly attached to clothing. Make sure they aren’t long enough to wrap around your child’s neck.
  • Take the hoods off your child’s clothes, or make sure the hood will come off if it gets caught on something. Hoods attached with Velcro are best.

How can I dress my child to protect them from choking?

  • Check that buttons and other small parts are firmly attached to clothing and won’t come loose.
  • Make sure that blankets and sleepers don’t have any loose threads.

How can I protect my child from batteries in their clothing?

If your child is wearing clothing with batteries in it, make sure the batteries are in a secure compartment that your child can’t open.

How can I dress my child to protect them from burns?

  • Teach your child that fire is dangerous. If their clothes catch fire, teach them to stop, drop, and roll.
  • Dress your child in pajamas made of flame-resistant fabrics. These are fabrics such as polyester or nylon that don’t catch fire as easily as some other fabrics. Cotton and cotton blends are not flame resistant.
  • Dress your child in pajamas with tight-fitting ankles, waists, and wrists. Tight-fitting pajamas are less likely to catch fire than loose pajamas. Day clothes, like t-shirts, are not safe to sleep in.

How can I dress my child to protect them from falling?

  • Make sure your child wears shoes that fit.
  • Make sure shoelaces are snug and tied so they don’t come loose.
  • Consider shoes with Velcro straps until your child can tie shoelaces.
  • Choose shoes with soles that have good grip (non-skid soles).
  • Remember that shoes with wheels (such as Heelys) could cause your child to fall. Whenever your child is wearing these shoes, make sure they’re in a safe area (for example, away from stairs and uneven ground).

How can I protect my child from hurting their neck and shoulders while wearing a backpack?

  • Make sure your child wears their backpack over both shoulders. This spreads the weight evenly. It also helps protect your child from back, shoulder, or neck strain (stretching or tearing a muscle or tendon).
  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Adjust the straps so the backpack fits close to your child’s back.
  • Make sure your child doesn’t carry too much in their backpack. The backpack should weigh no more than 20% of your child’s weight. For example, if your child weighs 36 kilograms (80 pounds), then their backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 7 kilograms (15 pounds).
  • How to Ensure Backpacks are Safe for Your Child’s Back

Current as of: September 3, 2019

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services