Safety standards for children’s clothing
Did you know there are over 20 safety standards associated with children’s clothing in the UK? Some are mandatory and passed into law, while others form best practice and are adopted by brands.
We have certain expectations when clothes are offered for sale, and should expect no less from rental clothes. At the very least the clothes you rent should be a) fit for purpose b) of satisfactory quality c) safe when used in a reasonable manner and d) in accordance with and conforms to all relevant legal requirements.
Our baby clothing brands
There are many reasons why we are selective about the brands we choose to work with. Lots of individuals and companies make baby clothes, but not all are aware of the specific requirements to make children’s clothing safe. We expect our brands to be experts in baby clothes, not only that, their sustainable credentials must be genuine and credible.
For example, our organic cotton doesn’t just stop at the fabric being certified. We seek out brands whose clothing is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The fabrics used are Oekotex 100 certified, this ensures they are safe for babies and children, and that harmful chemicals and substances are not present in the fabric. Quality products cost more for a reason.
Baby clothing risk assessment and safety checks
At Qookeee we do everything we can to ensure that the products we rent are safe. When we receive new clothes from our brands, we want to make them available to rent at the earliest possible time. But before our customers can enjoy them, we carry out a 53 point risk assessment on each item. This is a safety check which covers visual compliance to the safety standards. For example, the presence of drawstrings or cords on certain parts of the garment that can become an entrapment hazard.
Of course, there are many checks which take place during design development. A good brand that designs its own range, will build in the correct specification into the design. This could impact design features, limiting what can and can’t be included on the garment. For example, a safe baby garment with a hood, will ensure that the hood does not minimise vision, hearing or be of an impermeable material. It should also not contain a drawstring, functional cord or decorative cord in the head, neck or upper chest area. Sleepwear for under 3 years should not have a hood. The garment technologist determines what aspect of the garment features carry risk, and will work with the designer or factory to modify the design.
Baby clothes manufacturing checks
Quality and safety checks are carried out during manufacturing and on the finished product before it leaves the factory. For example, the security of buttons on baby clothes. To avoid buttons coming off and causing a choking hazard, they must pass a 70 Newton pull test.
Metal detection baby clothing check
Metal detection of clothing before it leaves the factory is a key safety check for all manufacturers of baby clothes.
This process will identify if there are any rogue metal parts in the garment which could have the potential to injure a child. During sewing, if a machine needle breaks, all the fragments of the broken needle must be found. These metal fragments can be so small and only found by using a metal detector. This key safety control is something individuals making baby clothes and some brands may not have in place. It is really important to make sure your baby clothes come from a reputable brand to avoid jeopardising the safety of your baby.
We trust our suppliers to manage these processes. They work with factories they have a long term relationship with, who are familiar with the strict UK safety standards and legislation. Our risk assessment is not a quality check, it is purely based around the safety of the clothes. It is also important to have knowledge of the requirements to be able to discuss with them with our brands.
Qookeee’s baby clothing quality checks
Some safety aspects will be inherent when the item passes the Qookeee risk assessment. Clothes returned after renting undergo a further check to maintain the safety level. Clothes are first checked for quality and sent for professional laundering.
There are 3 key categories that we focus on: Aesthetics, Function and Fit for purpose
- Aesthetics. Has the appearance of the item deteriorated, so it is no longer appealing for the customer. For example, the fabric has a hole in it.
- Function. Has the item lost its functionality, for example, a missing button.
- Fit for purpose. Are there any parts of the item that prevents it being used as intended. For example, a snowsuit with detachable mittens, where the mittens are missing.
The category in which the item falls depends on the course of action taken. The actions taken are typically, repair, reduce (rental price), upcycle, recycle. The aim being to keep the clothing in use for as long as possible and ultimately stop it reaching landfill.
To date, we have not lost any item due to an irreparable condition.