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Clothing Recalls and the Danger of Drawstrings on Children's Clothing

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is a group committed to protecting the public from a wide array of unsafe consumer products. In 2011, the organization took aim at dangerous elements common in children's clothing: drawstrings. The use of drawstrings in hooded sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets, shirts and pants intended for children can pose a serious danger to children. Drawstrings can get caught in vehicle doors, playground equipment, escalators and other objects leading to serious injuries and even death. If a drawstring gets caught, a child can be drug, choked or otherwise harmed by their clothing.

The CPSC has issued more than 100 recalls over the years because of the hazards posed by drawstrings. While not all clothing items that use drawstrings are dangerous, there are a few elements you should be aware of before giving your child an item of clothing with strings attached. First, the drawstrings should not hang out more than three inches when the clothing is fully laid out. Second, the drawstrings themselves should have not attachments on the ends. Finally, drawstrings should be attached in the middle so they cannot be pulled out to one side.

While the earliest guidelines regarding drawstrings in children's clothing date back more than 15 years, new recalls are still necessary every year. The guidelines for the makers of children's clothing are voluntary, so non-conforming items are still regularly sold to unsuspecting parents. Parents and guardians must be aware of the products they make available to their children.

Style, durability and cost are considerations when buying your child's clothes. Please take a few moments to add safety to that list. A little extra attention could help you protect your child and avoid a tragedy.

Source: CPSC.gov, "Drawstrings Not Allowed," 8 May 2012

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