Items Designed for Young Children

The source of the information below is the site.

1. Designed for young children?                                                  

After you have decided that the item is an article of clothing or footwear and that it is not made of fur, you must then decide whether or not the item is designed for young children. This will normally be done either on the basis of the item’s physical measurement or on the body size of the child it’s intended to fit.

2. Clothing

HMRC will accept that garments are designed for young children provided they are at or within the tabled measurements. These measurements are based on children up to the eve of their 14th birthday, as this is when the body dimensions begin to merge with those of the general adult population.

The garments should be measured on a flat surface, with creases smoothed out, buttons (or equivalent) fastened and any intended overlap in place. Chest measurements should normally be taken 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) below the base of the armhole and multiplied by 2. Similarly, waist measurements should be taken from one side of the fastened waistband to the other and multiplied by 2.


Garment Chest centimetres (cm) Chest inches (“) Waist centimetres Waist inches
Shirts 104cm 41.0”    
Knitwear 104cm 41.0”    
Jackets, waistcoats 109cm 43.0”    
Top coats, outerwear 114cm 44.5”    
Dresses not applicable   not applicable  
Skirts* not applicable   not applicable  
Trousers, shorts*     72cm 28.5”
Underwear, swimwear 88cm 34.5” 72 cm 28.5”
Nightwear 105cm 41.5” 73cm 29.0”


Garment Chest centimetres (cm) Chest inches (“) Waist centimetres Waist inches
Shirts 105cm 41.5”    
Knitwear 105cm 41.5”    
Jackets, waistcoats 110cm 43.5”    
Top coats, outerwear 115cm 45.0”    
Dresses 98cm 39.5”    
Skirts*     71cm 28.0”
Trousers, shorts*     71cm 28.0”
Underwear, swimwear 89cm 35.0” 71cm 28.0”
Nightwear 106cm 42.0” 72cm 28.5”

*Those garments with elasticated waistbands should be measured at their full stretch. Those that have no fastening may be zero-rated up to a maximum stretched waist of 85cm (33.5”) for boys and 90cm (35.5”) for girls.

Some products are normally judged by different criteria or measurements. The following garments are also accepted as being designed for young children.


Garment Criteria or measurements
Lifejackets Maximum body weight 52kgs (114lbs)
Teen bras Size 34B
Leotards, body stockings, full body swimsuits Shoulder to crotch 70cm (27.5”)
Saris 422cm × 104cm (166.0” × 41.5”)
Lungis 156cm × 94cm (61.5” × 37.0”)
Tights Waist-crotch-waist
Lightweight 51cm (20.0”) Heavyweight 56cm (22.0”)
Socks Boys - shoe size 6½ girls or unisex - shoe size 5½

3. Larger sizes

If the measurements are exceeded, the garments may still be accepted as designed for young children if you can satisfy HMRC that they’re both:

  • designed to fit a body size no larger than those in paragraph 4.2.2
  • restricted by some other design feature to those under 14 years of age

You will need to show HMRC that the body sizes you have used are appropriate for children under 14 and that the garments produced are only suitable for that age group. You must provide full specifications and reasoning in order to obtain HMRC’s written agreement prior to zero-rating supplies.

4. Body Measurements

If you can show that you have designed a garment for a person under 14 and the body measurements used are at, or below, those in this table, you may zero-rate the resulting garment irrespective of its measurement, as long as it is only suitable for young children.

Body part measured Boys centimetres Boys inches Girls centimetres Girls inches
Height 163cm 64.0” 161cm 63.0”
Chest 84cm 33.0” 85cm 33.5”
Waist 70cm 27.5” 69cm 27.0”
Hips 85cm 33.5” 90cm 35.5”
Arm (shoulder to wrist) 59cm 23.0” 57cm 22.5”
Inside leg 77cm 30.0” 76cm 0.0”

5.  One-size and stretch garments

You cannot zero-rate articles of clothing which are sold in one size only and that are suitable for both children and adults. Articles that stretch to fit, such as some sportswear, can be zero-rated provided the garment is designed to fit a body size.

6. Footwear

HMRC will accept that footwear is designed for young people when the following measurements are met:

  • boys shoes - up to and including size 6½
  • girls court shoes (that is a low cut shoe without straps or other fastenings) - up to (and including) size 3
  • other girls shoes - up to (and including) size 3, and sizes 3½ to 5½ as long as the heel height does not exceed the sole depth by more than 4cm (approx 1⅔ inches)

7. American and continental sizing equivalents

UK American Continental
Boys 6½ 7 (unless 7½ is marked as equal to UK 6½) 40
Girls 3 35½ (35 if no half sizes)
Girls 5½ 7 38½ (38 if no half sizes)

8. Large Sizes

If you can show us that your products are designed exclusively for the under 14s and that they’re held out for sale to this age group.

9. Unisex Footwear

Most lines of footwear are designed for one sex or the other, either in overall construction or by the choice of color and trim. You should zero rate such footwear according to the rules relating to girls’ or boys’ footwear as appropriate.

True ‘unisex’ footwear is as suitable for girls as it is for boys and can only be zero-rated up to and including size 5½, the maximum size for girls footwear.

10. Feet of differing sizes

Where a child has one foot significantly larger than the other or requires an unusually high heel for one foot, the pair of shoes can be zero-rated if the smaller shoe qualifies for the relief.

11. Hats

Young children have proportionately larger heads than older persons and many children’s hats will fit adults. However, you can still zero rate hats (including caps and other items of headgear) which are suitable by design only for young children, for example, babies’ bonnets, school hats, or if they’re clearly held out for sale for young children.

The following items have been accepted as falling within the relief:

  • protective helmets (such as those for skateboarding or ice hockey) up to a maximum size of 59cm as long as they’re designed and marketed exclusively for children
  • riding hats up to and including 6¾ (jockey skulls up to size 1) even if they are not holding out for sale for children

If you sell larger riding hats specifically for young children, you can zero-rate them as long as they’re fitted, adapted or otherwise appropriate only for young children. For example, the range of riding hats for young children may be less sophisticated (in terms of design and appearance) than the adult range in the same sizes. If you think that the riding hats are eligible for the zero rate, you must check with us first and get our written approval before zero rating them.

All cycle helmets are zero-rated irrespective of size or how they’re holding out for sale.

12. Other headgear

Some articles worn on the head cannot be zero-rated even though they’re for young children because they’re accessories rather than clothing. This includes all articles that do not cover the whole head such as:

  • alice bands
  • hair ribbons and slides
  • ‘scrunchies’
  • sports and other headbands
  • sun visors and ear muffs

Novelty hats, party hats and play hats made out of materials such as paper or plastic are not clothing but toys and are standard-rated.

13. Belts, braces and other items

HMRC accepts belts, braces, neckties, gloves, garters, scarves, ruffs, collars and shirt frills as traditional items of clothing and they may be zero-rated irrespective of size as long as they’re holding out for sale for the under 14s only - see section 5.