Responsible action is key to child safety

AFTER months of mounting protest over clothes that sexualised young children, high-street fashion chain Primark yesterday agreed to remove padded bikini tops for young girls.

Public concern over the increased sexualisation of young girls has been widespread, with criticism from voices as diverse as Conservative leader David Cameron and the parents' online forum Mumsnet. Primark acted after calls for a boycott of its stores by an organisation which helps child victims of abuse.

The action suggests an organisation not as attuned to the sensitivities of its customers as we might expect from a retailer, and indeed slow to show the corporate responsibility that should be on display from a company of this size.

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Primark was by no means alone in coming under fire for selling overtly sexual items aimed at young girls. What gave particular offence was a push-up lace bra. Tesco withdrew a pole-dancing kit which appeared in its toys section while WH Smith announced last year that it was withdrawing Playboy stationery, including a pencil case.

Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for equality, hit the mark in commenting that while Primark's decision was welcome, "how on earth could they have thought that this was a good idea in the first place?" That's a question many parents will be asking.

But at least the right decision has been taken and we hope others will step into line. For the safety of children, adults must act responsibly.