Glitter on children's clothing--safe?
April 8, 2017 8:42 PM   Subscribe

I have noticed a lot of children's clothing has glitter on it, typically embedded in the paint or logos of shirts. Mainly, I am talking about Koala Kids and Carter's clothing. Almost every article of clothing sold has either glitter or a choking hazard--buttons. Is the glitter safe?

I have heard of people cutting their corneas on glitter. Why does EVERY piece of children's clothing sold (I'm talking mainly about toddler clothing here) have glitter? Does anyone here work for Carter's or a maker of these clothes? Why does everything have glitter? Have there been any problems? Is it safe?
posted by candasartan to Shopping (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's foil glitter and then there's glass glitter. Glass glitter can definitely cut/scratch but foil glitter won't. Glitter glues etc use foil glitter. Glittery kids clothing I have bought for my nieces always seems to be foil glitter, and I haven't heard of it coming off or hurting them.
posted by Lay Off The Books at 10:38 PM on April 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

Glitter is a way clothing companies gender code baby clothes. I'd argue that any sort of glitter is less (potentially) harmful than the chemicals remaining on most new clothing (formaldehyde, PFCs, phthalates, etc.) My son actually has quite a bit of Carters clothing and none of it has glitter, but it's all coded male. If you want to avoid glitter entirely, you certainly can. Purchase "boy" clothes or search out one of the many organic children's clothing lines. There are also popular children's clothing lines where the entire selling point is that the clothes are simple and not coded for any particular gender.
posted by pecanpies at 5:38 AM on April 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I don't know if it's safe, but it does shed. The odd tot we had come to visit in glitter (or, much worse if played in, sequins) left evidence of their visit behind for ages.

For some reason you have to spend more money to get children's clothes that do not have silly designs or advertisements on them. I tried to buy a cheap simple swimsuit in a large mall for a spontaneous wading pool visit once; there was no such thing as a little girl's cheap simple swimsuit. All the cheap stores had were ones with advertising for Dora or whatever. We ended up paying more for a too-big swimsuit we'd use next summer as well. The boy's dept, as pecanpies mentions, is also a bit better for this -- it worked well for my daughter who looked great in navy blue and liked rockets and dinosaurs. I think the glitter is marketed to parents who didn't let their infant girls out of the house without pierced ears and a scratchy lace headband with a bow; there's a % of parents who are (or so I grok from parenting discussion boards) very offended when someone misgenders their baby/toddler. "She was entirely in pink and had a barrette in! Can you believe it?"

Baby Gap usually has a rack of plain tees and plain (or perhaps striped) leggings. LL Bean is nice if you would like a feminine print that has not gone totally overboard with being girly and which comes in colours besides pink and purple.

Despite the first paragraph and irritations there I assumed it would be like eating crayons -- just something that comes out the other end. You can buy glitter in gelatin capsules to have, uh, theoretical fun with your poo, and I haven't heard any claims about that being dangerous. Googling shows that a lot of dogs have found their way to containers of glitter, and had sparkly poo instead of an emergency visit to the vet.
posted by kmennie at 6:36 AM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you're anti-glitter for kids clothing, I'd recommend for clothing. Simple designs in one color in soft cotton.
posted by Jaclyn at 10:31 AM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fwiw, shedding of glitter varies a lot from item to item. I have a lot of Carter's clothes with glitter and I've never noticed shedding - not to say it's never happened, but it isn't significant or a nuisance if it does. Worst glitter-shedding offender so far has been a Disney brand Minnie Mouse shirt.

+1 that this is really only an issue with girls' clothes. And most major clothing retailers for kids have a "unisex" section these days if for some reason you aren't into super-duper-gendered apparel for your six-month-old.

If you shop in person it should be trivial to tell whether the glitter is likely to end up all over your house.
posted by potrzebie at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2017

Best answer: Primary, Hanna Andersson, Burt's Bees Baby, LL Bean, Mini Boden, all of these are children's clothing lines which don't have glitter on them (and at which I preferentially shop, in part for the reasons cited by pecan pies). You can also find non-major brand name organic children's clothing for cheaper on Zulily and Amazon.

If the price tag is too hefty on these, I would recommend hitting up consignment stores in your area such as Once Upon A Child, or online secondhand sources like eBay, Swap, or local Facebook groups for children's stuff. However to answer your question more directly, I've never heard of issues with safety for glitter on clothing, never seen any corneal abrasions from it as an ER doc who sees a lot of corneal abrasions, and based on my mom/doc experience, there are other things a lot more common that kids can injure themselves with (most corneal abrasions come from pieces of leaves, gravel or dirt, or kids' own fingers/nails).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:27 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

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