Drawstrings Pose Hidden Risk to Tennessee Children

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With spring now here, many Tennessee children have traded in their heavy coats in favor of windbreakers and hooded sweatshirts. However, parents might not realize that these kid-favorite garments can pose hidden dangers.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission recently issued a warning reminding parents that seemingly innocuous-looking drawstrings can turn children’s garments into dangerous and defective products.

Drawstrings, especially those with toggles or decorations on the end, can easily get caught in playground equipment and car doors. This can lead to entrapment, strangulation, dragging accidents and other serious personal injuries. Even worse, CPSC knows of at least 26 incidents where children have died after their drawstrings became tangled in slides, school bus doors or other objects.

In 2011, CPSC banned neck or hood drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear. However, these dangerous drawstrings may still be present in hand-me-down apparel, as well as in shirts or sweatshirts that are not designed to be worn as outerwear. In addition, children may still be at risk of personal injury from drawstrings at the bottom of coats and jackets or in the waistband of pants and shorts.

Over the past six months, CPSC has recalled eight items of children’s apparel for having dangerous drawstrings. Since 1999, drawstrings have led to the recall of more than 130 articles of clothing.

Parents can minimize the risk of accidents or fatal injuries by looking through their kids’ clothing to identify and eliminate any dangerous drawstrings. CPSC recommends keeping three concerns in mind:

  • Drawstrings should not hang out more than three inches when the article of clothing is at its fullest width
  • There should never be any toggles or other objects attached to drawstrings on children’s clothing
  • Drawstrings should always be stitched to the back of the clothing so they cannot be pulled out one side

Source: On Safety, “Drawstrings Not Allowed,” May 8, 2012.