How Safe Are Buttons On Baby Clothes? (Being Mindful Of What Your Little One Wears)

“No button on clothes” is a safety rule for infant and toddler clothing. Buttons are easily pulled, and with babies who will tug anything they can lay their hands on, it only spells potential danger. Small parts like buttons, beads, sequins, pom-poms, and bow ties, among others, are not ideal for babies under 36 months old. Toddlers may pick and stuff these tiny materials and put them in their mouths, which can end up blocking their airways. But don’t worry! There are safer alternatives for fastening baby clothing that is also as fashionable as the cute buttons.

Choking prevention in children

Buttons on a baby cardigan are so adorable they are hard to resist for your little one’s winter apparel.

Some moms may even DIY their baby’s own outfits and put other stylish trinkets for aesthetic purposes. But more than anything else, every parent needs to be mindful of its safety over the visual appeal.

The New York State Department of Health always warns parents about the looming danger of choking injuries and death. Household items that look small and unassuming for adults are the common things that bring toddlers to the ER.

So, before choosing the trendy button-down jacket for your kids, you may want to consider the plain pullover for now.

Kids over three years old have already established their developmental stages and understand the things around them. That is about the right time when most objects and toys are safe to be around.

Common choking hazards to watch out for

Choking hazards are any objects that may lodge in the child’s throat and block their airways. Choking is one of the leading causes of injury and death in children under three years old.

Fortunately, choking is highly preventable through close supervision and recognition of common choking hazards.

It sounds scary, but food is the leading cause of infant choking, according to many studies.

Although babies have swallowing and gag reflexes that biologically prevent them from choking on spit and vomit, chewing is a learned skill. They need time to master proper chewing, and some kids tend to swallow their foods whole instead.

Some of the foods that are not very ideal for younger children are:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Popcorn
  • Candies, jellies, gums, lollipops
  • Raisins
  • Marshmallows
  • Large chunks of food
  • Peanut butter

Household objects and small toys also constitute choking hazards.

Keep these things out of reach and buy your baby age-appropriate toys:

  • Balloons and plastic bags
  • Buttons
  • Coins
  • Disc batteries
  • Dice
  • Small balls and marbles
  • Toys with small parts

Choking prevention tips

It takes direct supervision and informed choices for children’s food and accessories to prevent choking from happening.

Here are some important precautions parents should remember and exercise at all times:

  • Never leave your children unattended while eating and playing.
  • Do not rush the baby when feeding/eating.
  • Soften the foods through steaming and mashing. Cut the chunks into smaller pieces.
  • Offer the child plenty of liquid while eating.
  • Use age-appropriate toys and avoid possible choking hazards even in their clothes
  • Do not let the child eat while walking, playing, or riding in a moving car.

Alternative to buttons on children clothes

So, if buttons are unsafe around children, what are your other options?

Setting aside the decorative purpose of buttons, there are cloth fasteners that are approved for children. The most popular that have been around for years are snaps, Velcro, and zippers.

If you do decide to buy clothes with buttons, make sure that they pass the pull test. It is a test that determines the physical strength of the buttons against force.

Ready-made garments, especially baby clothes, are often subjected to a pull test to ensure their safety. So saying, DIY buttoned clothes without this strength test may not be the safest thing for your little one.


Does the “not for children under three years” label in toys really matter?

Yes, parents should give children only age-appropriate toys to always be on the safe side.

Are snaps better than buttons?

Most baby clothes have snaps because they are easier to fasten than buttons. They also do not come loose easily, and babies cannot pick on them with their hands.

What should I do if my baby is choking?

Call 911 and do not lose any minute during a choking accident. A Heimlich Maneuver is very important and needs to be administered the soonest.


Dressing a newborn or toddler can be an exciting activity. Parents always find pleasure in things that are pleasant and adorable to look at for their babies.

But clothing accessories sometimes pose an unassuming threat to a baby’s safety. Buttons or hooks are small parts that can choke a toddler. Ribbons, tassels, and other loose cloth on a baby’s clothes are not a safe embellishment either.

When using such things, make sure that it is firmly attached and safely tied. Most importantly, do not let your eyes stray off your baby for a while.

Was this article helpful?

Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

Leave a Comment