Clothing intended for children must be safe. In addition to chemical safety, which includes carcinogenic, toxic or allergenic substances, another risk factor that international standards focus on is related to the presence of small parts — normally decorative accessories — that if not firmly attached, could become loose and accidentally swallowed by the child. One other fundamental aspect is the prevention of the risk of strangulation, connected to any cords or drawstrings on clothes.
To delve deeper into this important issue, we interviewed our experts: Angela Donati, EMEA softline technical lead, and Silvia Lai, technical manager, technical research and protocol development.
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Question: In Europe, when will the new version of European Standards (EN) 14682, Safety of Children’s Clothing — Cords and Drawstrings, be published?
Angela: The publication of the new version of the standard was scheduled between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Following the COVID-19 emergency, all physical European Committee for Standardization (CEN) meetings were suspended until June 30, 2020. However, work has not stopped, but is certainly more difficult and cumbersome to carry out these projects virtually. As a result, publication may be delayed.
Question: In regard to physical-mechanical safety, in Europe, the maximum allowed size for a zip puller is 7.5 centimeters. How should the zip puller be measured when it is a circumference, i.e., if the additional fabric part forms a loop? Also, can the zip puller protrude from a long-sleeved garment?
Angela: If the attached part forms a loop, the zip puller’s circumference must comply with the 7.5 centimeters length. As far as long-sleeved garments are concerned, according to EN 14682, the only point from which the zip puller must not protrude is the bottom of a garment that reaches the ankle. For example, it cannot protrude from the hem of a trouser that reaches the ankle.
Beware, however, that the Chinese market has some specific requirements, including requirements for the zip puller: the additional cord attached to the metal puller is classified as a decorative cord and therefore, over a certain length it is not allowed to protrude from the hem of long sleeves.
Question: In the United States, is the small parts cylinder the same as the one used in Europe?
Angela: Yes, fortunately, the small parts cylinder is the same size as the one used for the EU market, for example, in the technical report 16792, and standard EN 71–1 on toy safety. The Chinese market also uses the same cylinder according to the requirements of the Guobiao (GB) 31701 standard on the safety of children’s clothing.
Question: Are the requirements for nightwear the same in the U.S. and Australia?
Angela: No. The Australian and New Zealand markets have a specific regulation which refers to the Australia and New Zealand Standards (AS/NZ) 1249 and applies to children’s nightwear and certain daywear, i.e., sleepsuits with furry material inserts that are sold in sizes labeled 00 to 2 (corresponding to a height ranging from 68 centimeters to 92 centimeters). According to the Australian standard, the garments are divided into four different categories. Category 1 to 3 must have a specific white label with the words CAUTION KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT AND FLAME — while for category 4, there is a red label with the words WARNING HIGH FIRE DANGER KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT AND FLAME. The flammability tests that are performed are different from those in the U.S. market.
Question: In the United States, how can I determine what concentration of the substances listed in Proposition 65 is acceptable in my product?
Silvia: Proposition 65 provides only for exposure limits of the listed chemicals. It does not prohibit or restrict the use of any particular chemical. The concentration of a chemical in a product is only part of determining whether consumers should be warned about exposure to a listed chemical. For this reason, when testing products to assess the content of chemical substances, taking the limits established in some judgments as a reference (settlements), you must remember that this is risk mitigation and not a conformity assessment that can unequivocally establish whether or not a warning is necessary.
THIS DOCUMENT IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY LEGAL, REGULATORY OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.
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