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Penneys, M&S, Tesco and more sign up to code on children's clothes.

The guidelines lay out rules for underwear, swimwear and footwear, as well as slogans and fabrics.

In 2010 Primark in the UK withdrew padded bikinis but continued to sell padded bras for children.
In 2010 Primark in the UK withdrew padded bikinis but continued to sell padded bras for children.
Image: File/Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

NO SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE imagery or slogans, fabrics that provide for modesty and age appropriate swimwear are among the guidelines included in Retail Ireland’s voluntary code for children’s clothes.

Care to differentiate between children’s underwear and adult lingerie, appropriate colour ranges and stable and supporting footwear are also part of the guidelines, which were launched today.

Bras should be labelled by bust and cup size rather than age, and no mention should be made of “enhancement” or “underwiring” on underwear aimed at the under-12s. Meanwhile the guidelines recommend that the choice of decoration or embellishment on footwear should be “pretty” rather than “adult”.

Tesco, Penneys and Marks and Spencer are among the retailers who have agreed to sign up to the code, joined by Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Clerys, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Next and TK Maxx. Other retailers are also being invited to adopt the guidelines.

The code was requested by Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald and she said today that “preserving the special space that is childhood is a key priority of government”.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has called on the government to make addressing the sexualisation and commercialisation of children a priority, and today he is welcoming the code, saying it is a first step in tackling an enormous problem in society.

He said that he hope statutory guidelines will follow.

Today’s document also dictates that childrenswear should be marketed towards to adults that are buying it, and that the use of child models is only acceptable within defined parameters.

The code covers clothes for children under the age of twelve and does not include dressing-up clothes or toys, teenage fashion or babywear.

Parents concerned about ‘commercialisation and sexualisation’ of children – survey>

Calls for research into sexualisation and commercialisation of Irish children>

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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