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Children's clothing suggested practice
05
Jul '11
Drawstrings on children's clothing may catch on items such as playground equipment, bus doors or cots and lead to death or injury.

Accidents related to drawstrings on children's upper body clothing, such as jumpers and wind cheaters, have been associated with a number of deaths in the United States, where 22 deaths and 48 non-fatal incidents involving the entanglement of children's clothing and drawstrings were reported between 1985 and 1999.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - ACCC is encouraged that to date, there have been no fatalities reported in Australia from accidents involving drawstrings. This may be due to Australian climatic and cultural differences but the early implementation of safety considerations by many manufacturers, importers & retailers in Australia may also be an important factor.

To ensure that drawstring hazards continue to be minimised, the ACCC is seeking cooperation from suppliers to follow a voluntary guideline when purchasing product for sale in Australia. This voluntary ACCC guideline, set out below, is based on voluntary US and European standards (ASTM F1816 and EN 14682). Since the US standard was introduced in 1997, the average numbers of fatalities and non-fatal incidents reported each year in the United States have decreased by 75% and 90% respectively.

The guidance provided by the ACCC in this document is suggested practice only and does not represent a standard or mandatory requirement.

Deaths and injuries

Hood/Neck Drawstrings
Over two thirds of the deaths and non-fatal incidents recorded in the US involved hood/neck drawstrings. The majority of these cases involved playground slides, but some cases involved fences and cots. Typically, as the child climbed or descended, a toggle or knot on the drawstring got caught in a small space or gap at an elevated part of the structure. Examples of catch points include a protruding bolt or a tiny space between a guardrail and the slide platform. The child was then suspended part way down the slide and the drawstring pulled the garment taut around the neck, strangling the child. Victims of these cases ranged in age from 2 to 8 years old.

Waist/Lower-Hem Drawstrings
Almost one-third of the deaths and non-fatal incidents recorded in the US involved drawstrings at the waist/lower-hem of children's jackets and windcheaters. Most of these
involved children whose waist or lower-hem strings of their jackets caught on school bus handrails or in school bus doors. In most cases, the drawstring at the lower-hem 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 realising that the drawstring was caught on the handrail, the bus doors closed and the bus drove away, dragging the child. Deaths occurred when
ACCC Product Safety children were run over by the bus. Victims of these school buscases ranged in age from 7 to 14 years of age.

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