Are you ready to import and sell children’s clothing in the European Union? In this article, we cover the basics of product regulations, safety standards, and labeling requirements that apply to children’s clothing, including REACH, EN standards, GPSD, and Amazon Europe Compliance Requirements.
- Children’s clothing
REACH is a European Union regulation that addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. REACH covers all consumer products sold in the European Union including children’s clothing.
It is illegal to sell children’s clothing and other consumer products that contain excessive amounts of restricted substances in the European Union.
Here are a few examples of regulated substances:
Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC)
To learn more about what substances are regulated under REACH, you can have a look at the candidate list of SVHCs on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) website. ECHA adds new substances to the list on an irregular schedule. However, importers don’t need to keep track of the list, as product testing companies normally do so on behalf of their customers.
Third-party lab testing is the only way to verify whether your children’s clothing products are compliant. Many testing companies such as Bureau Veritas and QIMA, provide REACH testing for different kinds of children’s products.
It is essential to instruct your supplier about REACH regulation, and book REACH compliance testing before importing it to the European Union.
Here are some leading labs that offer REACH testing:
- C&K testing
- Bureau Veritas
You can check more information about REACH testing companies in this guide.
REACH testing cost for children’s clothing starts from $200 per material. The cost increase depends on the product’s type and color.
Some textile fabrics and clothing parts (e.g. zippers and buttons) may contain excessive amounts of restricted chemicals and heavy metals. Notice that you will have to cover the testing costs regardless of whether the lab test is successful or not.
Learn more about REACH lab testing in this article.
If your children’s clothing products contain a minimum of 80% by weight of textile fibers, the product must be labeled with fiber composition (e.g. 100% Polyester or 100% Cotton).
The label must be permanently affixed on clothing and accessible to consumers. For example, you shall not use a sticker for textile labeling.
- Country of Origin
- Care labels (Recommended)
- Size (Recommended)
Note: The labeling requirements may vary in different European Union member states. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you should include the care labels and size.
You should not expect suppliers outside the EU to provide compliant label files for your products. You must create your own textile label file – preferably in .ai or .eps formats – and then submit it to manufacturers before mass production.
Assuming that the supplier ‘should know’ how your imported children’s clothing should be labeled in the EU is risky. You must therefore provide clear instructions, and verify that the clothing items are correctly labeled before shipment to the EU.
In addition to the label file, you must also provide the following information to ensure that they affix the label correctly:
- Label dimensions
The label should be included in your design drawings, in order to avoid misunderstandings with your manufacturer.
Children’s Clothing Safety Standards
There are some additional EN standards that apply specifically to children’s nightwear and other children’s clothes. Here are some examples:
- EN 14878 Textiles – Burning behavior of children’s nightwear – Specification
- EN 14682 Safety of children’s clothing — Cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing
Note that additional EN standards may apply, or be added in the future. You can search EN standards on various websites, or ask a product testing company to provide their assessment.
General Product Safety Directive (GPSD)
Even if there are no specific or mandatory standards for your product, importers still need to comply with the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD). GPSD covers all consumer products sold in the European Union, including children’s clothing.
Importers need to self-assess product safety and risks for GSPD compliance. It is important to ensure that your products will not pose risks or cause injury to consumers before importing to the European Union.
GPSD requires that you determine how the child may use the product in a way that is potentially hazardous in all sorts of circumstances. For example, fabric parts that can easily get stuck, or wrapped around the neck, are potential hazards. It’s ultimately in your interest as an importer, exporter or manufacturer to ensure that your product is safe in all circumstances.
We recommend importers to establish potential safety hazards and create a risk assessment accordingly.
GPSD testing is not mandatory. Still, there are third-party companies that provide GPSD testing to assess general product safety.
GPSD does not require CE marking.
Directive 94/62/EC: Packaging Regulations
Directive 94/62/EC restricts the packaging material of children’s clothing. Importers and manufacturers must ensure that the packaging of children’s clothing, and other products, is compliant. Here are a brief summary of the requirements:
Heavy Metals Restrictions
Directive 94/62/EC restricts the presence of certain heavy material in packaging, including lead, mercury, chromium, and others. To verify if your packaging materials are compliant, we recommend that you conduct third-party lab testing for your children’s clothing.
Testing companies such as SGS, TUV, QIMA, and Intertek provide packaging material testing services for children’s clothing.
Additional Packaging Information
1. Provide collection, reuse, and material recycling information on the packaging to inform customers.
2. Any other compliance marks or labeling requirements should be also printed on the product packaging.
Amazon Europe Compliance Requirements
Amazon has a strict policy on product compliance. Children’s clothing must comply with all mandatory requirements to get approval from Amazon. The requirements include certification, labeling requirements, and mandatory lab-testing.
As such, you should read the relevant product category requirements in the Amazon Seller Central before importing with the goal of selling on Amazon.
How does Amazon check product compliance?
Amazon may request test reports, certifications, product invoices, and any other relevant proof of your products, at any time. Also, keep in mind that they are strict when it comes to checking the details of your test reports and don’t accept unverifiable test reports provided by suppliers, or test reports valid for different companies or products.
What can happen if we sell non-compliant children’s clothing on Amazon?
Amazon has the right to review your products, then remove them from listing for non-compliance reasons. Also, they can suspend your account if needed.