‘Let Children Be Children’: A Proposed Ban on ‘Inappropriate’ Clothing for Pre-Teens

Abercrombie Kids pink striped "Ashley" push-up triangle bikini top
Ashley push-up triangle bikini top by Abercrombie Kids.

Are the days of padded children's bikini tops and suggestive slogans on baby tees over?

If British prime minister David Cameron has his way, yes. A new initiative supported by the Conservative leader—who has dubbed such items as "disgraceful" in the past—would prevent U.K. retailers from selling "inappropriate" clothing to pre-teens as part of a mission to protect children from sexualized images and commercialization, the Guardian reports.

"Sexualized and gender-stereotyped clothing, products and services for children are the biggest concerns for parents and many non-commercial organizations," Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey, who prepared the report, tells the paper.

The "Let Children Be Children" proposal would require British retailers to agree to a code issued by the British Retail Consortium which states that "fabrics and cut should provide for modesty" and "slogans and imagery must be age appropriate and without undesirable associations or connotations," the Metro reports.

Nine high street retailers (including Sainsbury's, Debenhams, and Marks & Spencer) have already signed up after being warned to pull inappropriate children's items, such as lacy underwear or "porn star" slogans, within 18 months or face legislation.

Last year, Primark was criticized for selling a padded bikini for young girls, while Marks & Spencer apologized for selling lace-trimmed bra tops labeled for girls aged six to eight. In the U.S., meanwhile, Abercrombie Kids faced flak in March for its Ashley push-up bikini for seven-year-olds (left).

Other measures included in the report entail keeping provocative billboards away from schools and nurseries; cracking down on sexual and violent images on TV before the 9 p.m. watershed; and concealing the covers of men's magazines on newsstands.