China’s first mandatory national textile standards for children－both infants and older children－will take effect on June 1, International Children’s Day.
“The standards are expected to guide manufacturers to improve the safety and quality of children’s clothing to ensure infants’ and children’s health and safety,” said Li Jing, spokeswoman for the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
The new standards categorize textiles into two types: materials for infants aged 36 months or below, and for children aged 3 to 14 years.
New rules enhance several safety requirements and ban the use of six plasticizers and two heavy metals－lead and cadmium.
“Clothes for infants and children under 7 are not allowed to have straps or rope around the neck or head,” said Dai Hong of the National Standardization Technical Committee.
Because many clothes for infants and children are designed with some accessories, the new standards also include specific requirements for how those items are used－for example, no sharp points or edges.
The standards break safety categories into three groups based on different criteria. Class A, which includes all textile products for infants, is the most stringent. Products designed for direct skin contact must meet or exceed Class B standards, and those not intended for direct skin contact must meet Class C requirements.
Under the standards, an item’s safety category must be attached to the clothing inform buyers.
Li said the new standards will have a two-year transition period for full compliance－from June 1 to May 30, 2018.
During that period, the sale of products manufactured before the effective date and which met the previous national standards for textile products can remain in the market. After the two-year window closes, however, all textiles for infants and children must comply with the new standards.
“The transition period allows manufacturers to make technical improvements, and it gives sellers enough time to empty their inventory,” Dai said.
To help smooth the way for the new standards, the technical committee will host promotional activities in several cities.
Last year, the quality supervision administration inspected a number of textile products nationwide. About 10 to 20 percent of the products designed for children and infants failed to meet standards. Problems included excessive levels of formaldehyde and substandard materials.