Stop Your Child From Choking to Death – Read This!

In February 1996, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued guidelines to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled on the neck and waist drawstrings of upper outerwear garments, such as jackets and sweatshirts.

However, it seems every week we are receiving press releases from the CPSC about recalled sweatshirts and other garments due to strangulation hazards. Here are just a few, earch due to drawstrings posing a strangulation hazard:

True Religion Recall Children’s Sweatshirts Due to Strangulation Hazard
Steve & Barry’s University Recalls Children’s Outerwear with Drawstring…
Trendset Originals Recalls Girls’ Sweaters with Drawstrings…
Recall of Boy’s Hooded Sweatshirts with Drawstrings Sold by J.C. Penney…
Hurley International Announce Recall of Boy’s Hooded Jackets with Drawstrings…
Next Marketing Inc. Recalls Youth Hooded Fleece with Drawstring…
Girls’ Hooded Sweatshirts with Drawstring Recalled for Strangulation Hazard

And on and on it goes… From January 1985 through January 1999, the CPSC received reports of 22 deaths involving the entanglement of children’s clothing

All it takes is to simply remove the strong from the sweatshirt or “hoody” before allowing your child to wear it. If you do not wish to remove the string completely, at least cut it as short as possible to limit the chance of the string getting caught on something.

Drawstrings on children’s clothing are a hidden hazard that can lead to deaths and injuries when they catch on such items as playground equipment, bus doors, or cribs. In June 1997, ASTM adopted a voluntary standard that incorporated CPSC’s guidelines. You can obtain a copy of ASTM F1816-97, Standard Safety Specification for Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear, by calling ASTM at (610) 832-9585. These guidelines and the voluntary standard provide consumers with information to prevent hazards with garments now in their possession and make informed purchasing choices in the future. Manufacturers and retailers should also be aware of the hazards, and should be sure garments they manufacture and sell conform to the voluntary standard. CPSC’s drawstring guidelines are not mandatory. And, while CPSC does not sanction them as the only method of minimizing drawstring injuries, CPSC believes that these guidelines will help prevent children from strangling by their clothing drawstrings.

Guidelines for Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear

CPSC recommends that parents or caregivers completely remove the hood and neck drawstrings from all children’s upper outerwear, including jackets and sweatshirts, sized 2T to 12. CPSC technical staff has concluded that drawstrings at the neck that are shortened still may present a strangulation hazard. Therefore, CPSC recommends that consumers purchase children’s upper outerwear that has alternative closures, such as snaps, buttons, Velcro, and elastic. CPSC also recommends that manufacturers and retailers provide upper outerwear with these alternative closures, rather than drawstrings at the head and neck area. For upper outerwear sized 2T to 16, CPSC recommends to consumers, manufacturers, and retailers that the ends of waist/bottom drawstrings measure no more than 3 inches from where the strings extend out of the garment when it is expanded to its fullest width. Also, the drawstring should be sewn to the garment at its midpoint so the string can not be pulled to one side, making it long enough to catch on something. CPSC also recommends eliminating toggles or knots at the ends of all drawstrings. Shortening the length of drawstrings to 3 inches at the waist and bottom of children’s upper outerwear reduces the risk that the strings will become entangled in objects such as school bus doors or other moving objects.

Recommended Guidelines for Waist/Bottom Drawstrings

Waist/Bottom drawstrings of upper outerwear should measure no more than 3 inches from where strings extend out of the garment. Over two-thirds of the deaths and non-fatal incidents involved hood/neck drawstrings on upper outerwear. The majority of these cases involved playground slides. Typically, as the child descended the slide, the toggle or knot on the drawstring got caught in a small space or gap at the top of the slide.

An example of a catch point: A protruding bolt or a tiny space between the guardrail and the slide platform. As the child hung by the drawstring, suspended part way down the slide, the drawstring pulled the garment taut around the neck, strangling the child. Victims of these cases ranged in age from 2 through 8 years old.

In one case, a 5-year-old girl strangled after the drawstring on her jacket hood caught on the slide at her school. One incident involved a fence.

A 4-year-old girl strangled after the hood drawstring on her coat became entangled on a fence as she attempted to climb over it.

Two strangulations occurred in cribs. In one case, an 18-month-old child was found hanging from a corner post of his crib by the tied cord of the hooded sweatshirt he was wearing. Another little girl was hanged by the drawstring of her sweatshirt in her crib the first time she wore the sweatshirt.

Almost one-third of the deaths and non-fatal incidents involved drawstrings at the waist bottom of children’s jackets and sweatshirts. Most of these involved children whose waist or bottom strings of their jackets caught on school bus hand-rails or in school bus doors. In most cases, the drawstring at the bottom of the jacket snagged in a small space in the hand rail as the child was getting off the bus. Without the child or bus driver realizing that the drawstring was caught on the handrail, the bus doors closed and the bus drove away, dragging the child. Deaths occurred when children were run over by the bus. Victims of these school bus cases ranged in age from 7 through 14 years old.

A 14-year-old boy was killed when the long, trailing drawstring on his jacket got caught in the closed door of a moving school bus and he was eventually pulled beneath the bus and run over.

Now US Recall News is going to ask a simple question: Do you think children should be allowed to wear a potential noose around their neck? If you answered “yes” please don’t have children. The correct answer is “NO,” which is why you should remove the string from your child’s sweatshirts. It is that simple.

Help Spread the Word!


Everett Sizemore is the owner and Editor of US Recall News: He is dedicated to educating people about consumer safety, social activism and corporate responsibility by bringing information to Americans about the products they use every day.

Leave a Comment

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box