Children's safety with drawstring clothing

Published: 
15 Jun 2011

Children have died or suffered serious injuries from entangling themselves on drawstrings on their clothing. But there are things you can do to keep your children safe.

Parents and carers should take extreme care when buying clothing for children to minimise the risk of injury and death.

Hazards

Drawstrings on clothing can often catch in small spaces or gaps causing strangulation or laceration of the child.

Statistics

In the United States, there have been reports of over 20 deaths and nearly 50 serious injuries related to drawstrings. Victims have ranged from the age of two to 14 years old.

Below are examples of the type of incidents:

  • Drawstrings of jacket hoods and wind-cheaters have caused strangulation after being caught on slides, fences and corner posts of cots.
  • Drawstrings at waist bottom of children’s jackets and windcheaters have caused deaths after being caught in handrails and bus doors as children depart from the bus.

What you can do

Although there have been no reported incidences in Australia, below are some tips to consider when purchasing clothing for infants and children:

  • avoid clothing with drawstrings wherever possible, especially around the head and neck area
  • if drawstrings are on clothing, check to see if it they are sewn to the garment at midpoint so strings can’t be pulled to one side, making them long enough to catch on something
  • avoid drawstrings with toggles or knots at the end as these can hook and catch in small spaces
  • wherever possible, consider choosing clothing that uses alternative closures like snaps, buttons, velcro or elastic.
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