Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 18:39 UK

MP calls for 'sex bracelet' ban

Mary Creagh MP
Ms Creagh says under 16s should not be allowed to buy the bands

A government minister has called for an age restriction on bracelets being worn by some children over concerns they are linked to sex acts.

The wristbands come in colours said to represent different physical acts, including sexual behaviour.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, who was elected in May 2005, wants under 16s banned from buying the items.

But a shop selling the bracelets has threatened legal action against the MP over her comments.

Ms Creagh has written to the Children's Secretary and Business Secretary about the issue.

Ms Creagh said the bands came in a variety of colours and were sold in packs of six or 10, with each colour said to represent an intimate sexual act.

She said the issue came to her attention after hearing from her local newspaper about parents who had bought the bands to put in children's party bags, but were "absolutely horrified" when they read details on the packaging.

What I think we have here is the commercialisation of childhood
Mary Creagh, Wakefield MP

Ms Creagh said the items were available in several high street shops. She has written to one asking for the bracelets to be withdrawn, but said they had told her they did not intend to stop selling the items.

In a statement the shop said it was "currently taking legal advice to see what action can be taken against the MP for Wakefield, who has made repeated allegations which are inaccurate".

It added that the bracelets were a "fashion accessory" and a "national craze" and were in no way sexually explicit.

Ms Creagh said: "What I think we have here is the commercialisation of childhood. We are bringing sexual language and activity into the playground and I think mums and dads are absolutely right to be worried."

Donna Heaton, 33, of Rotherham discovered the bracelets were being worn at her eight-year-old son's school.

"He was in the playground and came over and asked for 20p to buy one of these bands," she said.

"I asked him what they were and was really shocked and taken aback when I realised what was associated with them."

Ms Creagh said she had written to the Children's Secretary Ed Balls and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson about the issue.

"What we have to be doing is looking at restricting the sale of these products to people who are over 16," she said.

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