Look at your child’s jackets, sweatshirts and sweaters. See nothing unusual? Now, look again. Do they have drawstrings?
For reasons we show below, CPSC passed a rule in July 2011, designating most drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear as hazardous. This essentially means that you shouldn’t see for sale, and your child shouldn’t wear, jackets, sweatshirts and sweaters with dangerous drawstrings. That means no neck or hood drawstrings for upper outerwear in sizes 2T through 12 or S through L. In addition, certain waist or bottom drawstrings are considered dangerous.
With waist drawstrings, there are three things to look for:
- When the clothing is at its fullest width, the drawstring should not hang out more than 3 inches.
- There shouldn’t be any toggles or other attachments on the drawstring.
- The drawstring must be stitched into the back so that it cannot be pulled to one side.
Drawstrings can catch on items such as playground equipment or vehicle doors. CPSC has received 26 reports of children who have died when drawstrings in their clothes got tangled on playground slides, school bus doors and other objects. Waist and bottom drawstrings that were caught in cars and buses resulted in dragging incidents.
CPSC first issued guidelines on drawstrings in February 1996. These were then incorporated into a voluntary standard in 1997. Since the clothing industry started following the voluntary standard, deaths involving neck or hood drawstrings decreased by 75 percent and there have been no deaths associated with waist or bottom drawstrings.
Still, we continue to see jackets, sweatshirts, and sweaters made with drawstrings that are dangerous. CPSC has issued more than 130 recalls involving clothes with drawstrings including 8 recalls between November 2011 and May 8, 2012. Here are some recalls from just the past month (as of publication of this blog). So, check your child’s upper outerwear and make sure to follow the instructions on these recalls.