Safety of Children's Clothing

1. The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No. 1803)

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 transpose Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety into UK law.

The purpose of the General Product Safety Directive is to ensure that all products intended for or likely to be used by consumers under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions are safe.

The Directive pursues its principal objective of ensuring consumer product safety by:

  • specifying that products placed on the market or supplied by producers and distributors must be safe;
  • defining a safe product;
  • imposing obligations on producers and distributors consistent with marketing safe products;
  • laying down a framework for assessing safety;
  • requiring enforcement authorities to be empowered to take the action necessary to protect consumers from unsafe products.   

For more detailed guidance on the Regulations view the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 - Guidance for businesses, consumers and enforcement authorities. (Pdf 525 kb)

The safety of children's outer garments exceeding the chest size specified in the hood cord Regulations is covered by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 in conjunction with the Code of Practice on the design and manufacture of children's clothing and the Standard covering cords and drawstrings on children's clothing (see below).

2. The Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985 (SI 1985 No. 2043)

These Regulations prohibit the supply of children's nightwear (other than pyjamas, babies' garments and cotton terry towelling bath robes) that do not meet flammability performance requirements. The Regulations also specify labelling requirements.

For more detailed information go to our webpage Guidance on the Safety of Nightwear

Please note that in November 2008, a new European Standard for nightwear came into effect - BS EN 14878:2007 - the requirements of which can be used for enforcement purposes under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

BS EN 14878:2007 contains a flammability requirement for pyjamas, while under the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations the flammability requirement is optional. In other words, pyjamas that are not treated for flammability may pass the requirements of the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985 but fail under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Key Facts

Apart from the Regulations above, there are no other specific regulations covering the safety of children's clothing.  All other aspects of the safety of children's clothing are covered by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.  These Regulations place a responsibility on businesses to supply safe goods.  In assessing the safety of a product the courts would have regard to any relevant published standards and codes of practice.

British and European Standards covering the Safety of Clothing

BS 7907:2007 Code of practice for the design and manufacture of children's clothing to promote mechanical safety

When designing children's clothing, it is essential to take into consideration the behaviour of children, whose need for exploration and challenge drives them to use items in new and different ways. One common factor children share is that they are unaware of cause and effect and are therefore substantially less cautious than adults in relation to hazards.

BS 7907:2007 gives recommendations for the design and manufacture of children's clothing to promote mechanical safety. This standard is applicable to clothing intended for children up
to 14 years of age.

BS 7907:2007 also gives recommendations on safety aspects of the packaging and display of children's clothing, including guidance for retailers.

BS 7907:2007 is intended for use at all stages of the clothing supply chain, including use by designers, specifiers and manufacturers of children's clothing. It is also intended to be used by importers, distributors and retailers to assist them in the selection of clothing that does not present a mechanical hazard.

This standard is not applicable to:

  • child care articles, such as bibs, nappies and soother holders
  • footwear, such as boots, shoes and slippers
  • toys and other items sold with the clothing

BS EN 14682: 2007

BS EN 14682: 2007 is a Standard which sets out the specification for cords and drawstrings in children's clothing.

The European Commission Mandate No. M/309 The Safety of Consumers: drawstrings or cords on children's clothing, issued 9 March 2001 requested that CEN develop standards or specifications to consider cords and drawstrings on clothing intended for children up to age 14.

The aim of BS EN 14862:2007 is to minimise the risk of accidental entrapment by cords or drawstrings on children's clothing taking into account:

a) the child's age
b) normal behaviour and activities of children for their age and stage of development, for example playing in playgrounds, climbing trees, travelling by 'bus or train, ability to look after themselves, and where relevant, level of supervision
c) national accident statistics indicate that serious accidents involving cords and drawstrings on children's clothing fall into two main groups by age of child

  • younger children: entrapment of hood cords in playground equipment such as slides, resulting in fatalities
  • older children and young persons: entrapment of cords and strings from the waist and lower hems of garments in moving vehicles such as bus doors, ski lifts and bicycles resulting in severe injuries or death from being dragged along or run over by the vehicle.

You should check the latest position in respect of Standards and Codes of Practice with BSI - Go to

About Trading Standards

Day-to-day enforcement of consumer safety legislation is the responsibility of local authority trading standards officers who have the necessary powers to take action if they believe a product to be unsafe.  We can suspend unsafe products and if necessary prosecute the supplier.

Copies of the legislation mentioned on this page can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office or can be accessed at OPSI

Please note: This information has no legal force and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law, which is a matter for the Courts. It is intended to help suppliers of children's clothing to understand in general terms, the main features of the legislation. The information is not a substitute for the legislation and you should refer to the text of the Regulations for a full statement of legal requirements and obligations. Where appropriate, you should seek your own independent legal advice. 

For further information, please contact the Trading Standards service, Public Safety, Regulation and Development, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Phone: (0191) 2116121. Email:

Page last updated: 
19 September 2017
Was this page useful?