Drawstrings

Drawstrings, particularly on hoods and necks of children’s clothing, can become entangled on playground equipment and cause death by strangulation.1

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been very active in bringing this hazard to the attention of consumers and to the clothing industry. Following a presentation to the manufacturers of children’s clothing in 1994 showing that drawstrings could kill children, the manufacturers voluntarily agreed to remove hood and neck drawstrings.2 The CPSC showed that most of the hood and neck drawstring deaths and near fatal injuries occurred on playground slides.

In 1996, the CPSC issued guidelines to prevent drawstring strangulation and in 1997, ASTM International (ASTM) issued Standard F1816-97, “Specification for Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear,” following the CPSC guidelines.3

The National Safe Kids Campaign (NSKC) publicizes the dangers of drawstrings4 and the Certified Playground Safety Inspector classes teach about the potential hazard of drawstring entanglement and how to inspect for it.

  • 1. “Public Playground Safety Handbook.” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Publication #325, 3.2.1, p. 14.
  • 2. “CPSC Prevents Deaths and Injuries with Swift and Effective Cooperation with Industry: Drawstrings on Children’s Clothing.” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. < http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/success/strings.html > 12 April 2011.
  • 3. “Guidelines for Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear,” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Publication 208, September 1999.
  • 4. “Playground Injury Fact Sheet.” National Safe Kids Campaign. <www.preventinjury.org/PDFs/PLAYGROUND_INJURY.pdf> 12 April 2011.