How to Safely Label Your Children's Items
Labeling your children's items is a great to prevent them from being mistaken as someone else's possession. Unlabeled clothing, especially, can be easily lost at school, and a label will increase the chances of you getting it back. But with young children especially, you'll want to be sure your labels are safe and well maintained. After that, you can use a label maker, make your own handmade labels, or make use of fabric labeling techniques to label your children's items.
Ensuring Safe Labeling
Label difficult to remove areas.Labels on tags, for example, can be easily cut from clothing. This will make it easier for potential thieves to remove the labels that indicate the clothing is yours. A label on the fabric of the clothing, however, will be difficult to remove without doing damage.
- Consider labeling the inside collar or bottom hem of shirts. For pants, you might label the inner waistband or bottom cuff.
- When labeling with a writing utensil, like a permanent marker, test a less visible portion of the fabric first. This way you can check that the ink doesn't bleed through the fabric.
Choose areas that are discreet.Labeling visible areas of your children's clothing could put them at risk to child predators. Children often regard adults who know their name as safe. Hide labels on the underside of fabric to prevent this.
- When your children are under constant supervision, like when playing a sport or on a field trip, obvious labels are OK.
- In some cases, like when on school trips, obvious labels can help supervising adults keep tabs on your kids.
- As a general rule of thumb, if your child will at any point be unsupervised, even if it's only when walking home, all clothing labels should be hidden from view.
Check the condition of labels regularly.Over time, even labels that were once safe can become less so. Peeling edges, loose threads, or weakened adhesive can cause your label to be pulled off your children's items. In these cases, your label can become a choking hazard.
- You may want to create a safety schedule on your calendar or with your cell phone to help you remember to check the safety condition of labels.
- A label that is properly attached to an item should hold up for some time. A once-a-month safety check should be sufficient.
- You may want to check the label condition of heavily used or frequently washed items more frequently. The labels on these will be more likely to degrade quickly.
Using a Label Maker
Gather your supplies.This is one of the easiest ways of labeling hard surfaced objects. Label makers and label tape can be found at most general retailers and office supply stores. In all, you'll need:
- Batteries (for label maker; optional)
- Label maker
- Label tape
- Scissors (optional)
Prepare your label maker.Your label maker may be a plug-in model, but if not you'll need to insert batteries into it first. After that, release the spool for the label tape, insert the tape, and fasten the spool back in place.
- Depending on your label maker, there may be many different spool configurations. Generally, this involves releasing a tab or removing the spool from a slot.
- If you have bought your label maker brand new, it may already come equipped with label tape, in which case you won't need to insert your own.
Input the text for your label and print it.The way you input your label text into the label maker will also depend on your model of label maker. In most cases, this involves using a small keypad on the maker to input and confirm your label message.
- Oftentimes, after you input and confirm your label message, the label will print directly. In some cases, however, you might need to select a "Print" option.
- Some label makers might also ask you to select a label size from a list of options. Choose the size that best suits the item you are labeling.
Apply the label to your children's items.Many label makers come equipped with sharp teeth where the label emerges. This makes it easy to tear your labels free. If your label maker lacks this feature, you may need to cut the label free with scissors. After that:
- Take your label and hold it close to the item you are labeling. Peel the backing off the label to expose the adhesive beneath.
- Smooth the label onto the item's surface to prevent labels from pulling free and becoming a choking hazard. Use your nails or a hard edge to chase bubbles to the label's edges and remove them.
- If a label does not stick cleanly to the surface you are trying to put it on, you may need to make a new label and try again.
Making Handmade Labels
Collect your label making materials.Handmade card stock labels are an inexpensive way of labeling children's items that have hard surfaces. Additionally, you could turn this into a fun craft where your kids help decorate the labels. In all, you'll need:
- Card stock
- Markers (non-toxic, many colors)
- Pencil (optional)
- Tape (durable, non-toxic)
Plan potential label designs on your card stock.If you're labeling containers, you might want to use broad categories for your label. Labels like "Balls," "Puzzles," and "Animals" on containers can help cut down clutter. For personal or small sized items, you may want to use a first name or initials to signify whose it is.
- If your children are especially young, you can draw simple designs with a pencil on your card stock to add flair to your labels. These can be colored in later.
- Children who are a little older might want to outline label decorations with a stencil and then color, or draw their own freehand designs.
Create your card stock labels.Cut your card stock into small, label sized pieces. For larger items and containers, you may want a larger label so it is more visible. Write out your label message in marker in clear, large print so it is easy to read.
- After your message is written, you or your kids can use markers to color in any designs you've added to the label.
Tape your labels in place.Use your tape to fasten all edges of your label to the hard surfaced object you are labeling. Make sure the tape is smooth and the label firmly attached.
- Tape with bubbling beneath its surface or loose edges will pull free more easily from the surface it's attached to and could become a choking hazard.
- If the label does not feel secure, don't hesitate to pull it free and use new tape or a new label.
Assemble your supplies.Iron-on labels are relatively inexpensive and can significantly cut down on the time it takes you to label fabric. These kinds of labels can be ordered online or can sometimes be bought at craft or hobby shops. For this project, you'll need:
- A cloth or light towel
- Iron (for clothes)
- Iron-on label
- Ironing board
Prepare to iron.First wash the fabric you'll be labeling. Once it is clean and dry, set up your ironing board and select the "Cotton" setting on your iron (or 400°F (204°C)). Then lightly iron the fabric where you plan on applying the iron-on label until it is smooth.
- After ironing out the fabric, it's a good idea to lay out the patch to check that its placement is satisfactory.
- Many kinds of iron-on label are intended only for cotton fabric. If the fabric you are trying to label is not cotton, you may need a special iron-on label.
Iron-on the label.Lay the patch on the fabric so the design faces up and is positioned where you want. Put a cloth or light towel on top of the label, then press the iron firmly on the label, using slow, circular motions for approximately 30 seconds at a time. Then:
- Turn the fabric inside out and repeat this process to the back of the patch. Once complete, allow the label and cloth to cool for about a minute.
- If, after ironing both sides, the edges of the label still lift from the fabric, reapply your iron to the fabric for another 30 seconds in the fashion described.
- Always follow the directions that came with your iron-on label for best results. Some labels may require more or less time ironing, or more or less heat.
Sew a name or identifying mark into the fabric, alternatively.If iron-on patches sound like more work than they're worth, you can always take a needle and thread and sew a simple label of your own into the fabric.
- If you're inexperienced at sewing, you can make a simple "label" by sewing an identifying mark in the fabric instead. Passing your needle and thread through the fabric a few times and tying off the end should be sufficient.
- Use scissors to cut any loose threads. With especially young children, thread pulled free from labels could be swallowed and lead to choking.
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