Carter's Tagless Baby Clothes Causing Rashes?

Parents are complaining online that Carter’s line of “tagless” baby clothes could be responsible for causing rashes and sores on babies. Instead of a traditional tag on the inside back of the shirt, a “tagless” has a solid silk-screen flat label. Carter’s is said to be aware of the problem and that it’s limited to their Fall 2007 line of tagless infant clothing. One blogger described the effect the shirt had on her daughter, writing, “Her back will turn very red and start oozing right where the tag (stamp) is in the back, the rash will appear as the exact size and shape of the stamp. The redness will then spread out from there.” Googling “carters tagless” reveals a number of parents complaining about the same issue. I smell class action lawsuit.


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  1. sir_pantsalot says:

    We don’t need no stinking rashes.

  2. marike says:

    yikes. Im so thankful my baby doesn’t have sensitive skin (or allergies yet). We have tons of tagless Carter items, but none have caused problems.

    If you read one of the comments on the blog, Carter is reimbursing not only for the clothing, but all expenses as well.

  3. BrianDaBrain says:

    Do companies test these things before putting them out on the market, or do they just pat themselves on the back for a great idea and a job well done?

  4. lodleader says:

    good thing i dont buy my boy carter clothes

  5. NotYou007 says:

    Tagless has been around now for a few years for adults without any issues, that I’m aware of but anyone that has had a child learns the hard way to what their child is allergic to. I think a class action lawsuit would be stupid since the company is taking care of the problem and a very frivolous lawsuit as well. Children get rashes, it happens.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    They simply need to pull these from the shelves, retag them, “Now with groovy self-applying back tattoo!”, slap ’em back on the shelves and watch the shopping frenzy erupt. Problem? Solved!!

    …Anyone want to place a bet that the next iteration of this story will need a “China Poison Train” tag? Anyone? Anyone?!

  7. MyPetFly says:

    I think these use that special silkscreen ink that turns to Ecstasy when it comes into contact with human skin.

  8. homerjay says:

    Carters stuff is crap. All the clothes feel like sand paper. Hanna Anderson FTW! (I’ve NEVER used FTW before and THIS is where I start??)

    • Sanveann says:

      @homerjay: Honestly, I think Hanna Andersson is really overpriced. Some of it is cute (though in general I’m not a huge fan), but a $40 romper or $25 onesie that will fit for two minutes and that will get smashed blueberries smeared on it at some point is really not in the budget for a lot of people.

      A good friend told me once, before my son was born, “Never pay so much for an outfit that you’d be devastated to see it pooped on or puked on.” It was sound advice :)

      We like Carter’s for everyday wear and haven’t had any issues with the tags.

    • somuch says:

      @homerjay: Love Hanna Anderson. Beautiful stuff that really looks great after many washes.

  9. MonkeyMonk says:

    Well now we know what happened to all those Walmart flip-flops . . . they got ground up into a material used for tagless onesies.

  10. duffm4n says:

    Somehow is seems wrong that this topic is “tagged”.

  11. mayrc87 says:

    I have tons of carter tagless clothes for my 3 children, including onesies for my 2 month old, and they never have had rashes.

  12. crackers says:

    I’m an adult, but I’ve gotten rashes from tagless clothes before. I only get them from tags that have large printed areas, so I’ve been uncertain if it’s the chemicals in the tag or the fact that the plastisol ink adheres itself to my skin and prevents airflow.

    Either way, it’s uncomfortable and unfortunately…those tags aren’t removable. :(

    • geckospots says:

      @CCS: I have similar reactions to some of those tags. I have a couple of camisoles made by Jockey that I have to wear inside out because I get really irritated skin right between my shoulderblades.

      I’m also not sure if it’s the plastic or the lack of air, but it’s annoying enough that I avoid clothes with them on it.

  13. Carbonic says:


    1. Shave monkey
    2. Test tagless shirts

  14. Altdotweb says:

    Depends on if the tags are printed or they are heat applied transfers.

    If they are printed, then the surface area of the print would be rough and would cause abrasions.

    It would be good to see a closeup of the shirt that caused the rash.

    on a side note: Plastisol does not adhere to skin after curing. It flakes off or shatters and causes sharp microsurfaces

    • purplesun says:

      @Altdotweb: That looks like more than just scratchy roughness from the tag. It looks like a chemical burn.

    • crackers says:

      @Altdotweb: Oh, by “adhere” I only meant that it sort of…suctions to the skin because it doesn’t breath, and the skin’s natural moisture can’t evaporate. Not that it actually sticks, per se. Kind of like how some rings trap moisture underneath and can create a rash on your finger.

  15. maztec says:

    I smell stop putting the clothes on your kid. Once you identify the problem, stop, then return the clothes and say your kid is allergic to it. No point in suing unless it causes permanent or long lasting damage. Your own fault if you keep putting your kids in the clothes after you find out they are causing problems.

    • mythago says:

      @maztec: and so you should just eat the price of the defective clothes? Nice.

      I am guessing that Carter’s is using a particularly evil factory for their printing. I’ve bought a lot of kids’ tagless clothes, but not Carter’s, and never had a problem.

    • ideagirl says:

      @maztec: riiight….good luck finding a store that will take returns for allergies, or for much of anything else (Target, anyone?) these days.

    • madog says:

      I’ll save someone else the trouble and blame the OP. Clearly those parents shouldn’t be clothing their babies in the first place. I mean, they’ll just grow out of them in 6 months. Am I right, or am I right? Or am I right? C’mon!

      Hey!?! What the….

      Stop throwing those rocks at me!

      OW! That one hurt!

      Seriously guys if you throw one mo…….

      ::slumps on the floor::

      @maztec: Damn you! Saw your post right before I hit submit to make sure I was being original. Guess that’ll never happen, thanks to you…

  16. oldheathen says:

    Horrible rash…poor baby. Gosh, you think you’d notice something like that immediately, before it turned into oozing blisters.

    Let me guess, made in China?

    • crackers says:

      @oldheathen: Most of the reports I read indicated that the parents were having trouble figuring out the source of the rash, blaming detergents, shampoos, lotions, etc. It’s hard to stop the rash when you can’t figure out what’s causing the rash.

  17. Triterion says:

    I wonder if it has anything to do with sweat and friction on that non adsorbing part of the shirt rather than an allergy. I wonder how hot it was in their house and what was the humidity?

  18. misokitty says:

    That is so odd, I am a nanny for an 18 month old and almost all of her clothes come from Carters and she hasn’t had any problems. Then again when we switched her laundry detergent from Dreft to Tide she was perfectly fine whereas I had contact allergies to the detergent so perhaps she is not prone to skin allergies in general.

  19. PinkBox says:

    Did Carters not put out some kind of press release to alert people to this?

    Seeing the baby’s back like that makes me sad. :(

  20. mgy says:

    Awwwwwwwwwwwww, babies!

  21. juri squared says:

    Wow, my child practically lives in Carter’s tagless onesies (she’s wearing one right now, in fact) and I’ve never had a problem.

  22. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I had some underwear with that “tagless” stuff. It was a plastic layer that flaked off when the knit stretched and was very uncomfortable. I find cleaning chemicals very harsh and I always wear gloves when I clean, but I usually don’t have reactions to other normal things. If a grown woman like me had a reaction from the “tagless” stuff, I can imagine what it would do to a baby.

  23. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with the cadmium they use in the ink.

  24. lbell says:

    3 of my kids could not wear/ still can’t wear snaps next to their skin. I never sued the snap manufacturers…… It’s a bummer, but just buy something else.

    • mythago says:

      @lbell: Must be nice to have so much money that when you find out that the kids’ clothing was defective, you can just waltz out and replace it all without a ding in your budget.

      • lbell says:

        I think you misunderstand….
        When I put my little ones to bed rashless and they wake up with little red dots on their skin where the snaps were it was easy to figure out what it was. I actually hadn’t invested in tons of clothes with snaps. No need to buy anything new right then. I just didn’t buy any more clothes that would place snaps next to their skin. There are plenty of options that don’t put a ding in your budget.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        @mythago: Not defective. Read it. The kids had issues with the stuff, the stuff didn’t have a defect.

        I have a baby in carter stuff right now, no rash.

  25. Keter says:

    Now we know what all the Wal-Mart chemical burn sandals were recycled into… ;o)

    Seriously, some babies’ skin is ultra-sensitive and will react to almost anything. It’s not always predictable, even to “experts.”

    • mythago says:

      @Keter: Babies that sensitive would be breaking out in a rash from the dye in colored onesies, too. I doubt it’s just a couple of oddball kids, especially in light of other comments here about ‘tagless’ shirts.

  26. Scoop11 says:

    Going online, I’m reading that it’s not just Carter’s. Gerber and Circo also have been named as culprits when it comes to “tagless” items causing rashes on babies.

    My husband and I bought most of our baby clothes for our newborn son at garage sales and consignment stores, with a few items being bought for us. We are going to be keeping an eye out for this now that we know that there is a chance of him having a reaction to it.

  27. mwshook says:

    That is so weird!
    Just 3 days ago, I saw an adult patient with a square-shaped rash on her upper back. It was a typical contact dermatitis rash. It was obvious she was allergic to something, and my best guess was the clasp from a necklace. But she said she hadn’t gotten any new jewelry. And that still wouldn’t explain the perfectly square shape. Now I know! Thanks consumerist.

  28. Onouris says:

    Surely this is just something to do with allergies. If not, it would be affecting everyone who uses these clothes and it’s not. I can’t see sueing someone because your child has an allergy getting all that far.

    Even if they said somewhere that the print they use contains blah di blah, you’re not going to know your child is allergic to that.

  29. charodon says:

    Huh. Our son has sensitive skin and allergies, and we have a ton of Carter’s stuff, but he’s has never had a reaction on the back of his neck.

  30. snead says:

    Hmmm, I wonder where Carters has their children clothes manufactured.

  31. mariospants says:

    We love Carer’s clothes: they’re cute and inexpensive so you can’t ask for more than that. Babies have been getting rashes for a zillion reasons since day one. If the rash goes away easily, just return the shirts for the tagged variety.

  32. TMurphy says:

    Could this be a latex issue? That’d be my first guess. Not sure what other materials/chemicals are likely to cause rashes like this (excluding your favorite made-in-China additive, which I doubt is the case here).

  33. NotATool says:

    In an effort to cheapen the manufacturing process, companies eliminate the tag and just silk-screen on the tag information.

    God, I hate this and this is just fuel to the fire. I hate how the silkscreen tagless info becomes unintelligible after a few washings.

    Are tags THAT expensive? Sheesh.

  34. wfpearson says:

    My child is one of the victims of the chemicals used to produce these tags. The negligence of companies that use these unvetted products in infant clothes infuriates me. As a result, to get the word out, I created the Tagless Torture blog. My daughter Evie has suffered her reaction throughout the Summmer, causing her pain and discomfort. She’s just 15 months old and has limited vocabulary but “itchy” is one of the words she knows well.

  35. petitcerise says:

    Poor baby in the picture. :-( My baby wears Carter’s with no problems but every situation is different. I once broke out in hives all over my body and never figured out what gave me the allergic reaction. Dermatologist said it could be a combination of anything. Even stuff I’ve eaten, worn, touched, inhaled, etc. before but just that particular combo of things can cause you to have a reaction. Never happened again either and we never figured it out.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Finally! I’ve been trying to find out what it was that my son is allergic to. The rash only on his back was the stumper. Never considered that the tagless tag was the culprit. Poor guy missed out on all his regular foods for a month!

  37. kalciati says:

    Our son Jaxson has been getting this red, irritated, burn like rash with skin peeling off. We have gone to see multiple doctors to find out what the cause may be. I’ve changed TONS of things in our house (Laundry soaps, bath products, cleaning products) trying to figure out the cause. We were about to take our poor 6 month old son in for a painful skin test to see if that may help & a friend watched the report then told me. I can’t tell you how relieved my husband & I are. It is scary when you think that you might be using a product that is hurting your child. We even stopped breast feeding in case it was an allergy to milk then tried through multiple formulas. It’s been such a pain. Thank god for the news & these families who figured out the connection. Carters really needs to make sure those clothes are exchanged for a better quality product & help these families with all additional expense they may have due to this. Don’t get me wrong I truly LOVE Carter’s clothing but this was a mess up on their part.