Child's Death Spurs Effort To Release Guidelines For Drawstrings On Children's Jackets And Sweatshirts

November 16, 1995
Release Number: 96023

In an effort to prevent tragedies like that of the young Ohio girl who was killed when the drawstring of her coat got trapped in a school bus door, Senator Mike Dewine (R-Ohio) and Rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio) joined U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Ann Brown at a Capitol Hill press conference today to announce new guidelines for drawstrings on children's outerwear.

From January 1985 through September 1995, CPSC received reports of 17 deaths and 42 non-fatal incidents involving children whose hood and waist drawstrings became entangled on playground equipment, bus doors and other common items. At least 12 children were involved in incidents involving school bus doors, including a 13-year-old girl from Ohio who died after the string on her jacket got caught in a school bus door and she was dragged under the bus. Other children have died when the drawstrings on their jacket hoods became caught on items such as playground equipment and cribs.

"This effort cuts through red tape and avoids regulation and costly legal battles, yet it gives parents and industry the information they need to save children's lives," Chairman Brown said.

The guidelines are part of CPSC's ongoing voluntary effort to alert consumers and manufacturers to the risk of strangulation associated with drawstrings on children's outerwear.

In April 1994, CPSC staff met with industry representatives to develop a voluntary agreement that eliminates drawstrings from the neck and hoods of children's outerwear.

These guidelines will serve two purposes. First, they will tell manufacturers how to design safety into their garments, and design drawstrings out. Second, the guidelines will tell parents to take the drawstrings off the hoods and necks of children's jackets and sweatshirts, and to substantially shorten the drawstrings around the bottom of coats and jackets.

"I have studied the drawstring problem for several months and am encouraged by CPSC's new guidelines," Senator DeWine said. "The length of these drawstrings has contributed to several of the tragedies that have occurred on school buses in Ohio and across the country. These new guidelines are an important step towards saving kids' lives."

"In the past the garment industry has been supportive of measures to make children's clothing safer, and I fully expect them to support these new guidelines as well," said Hobson.

"The deaths that have occurred, like Brandi Browder's, are a horrible tragedy. By raising awareness of this problem, government can work with the garment industry to make constructive changes and prevent a repeat of these tragedies in the future."

Manufacturers and consumers can obtain "Guidelines for Drawstrings on Children's Clothing" by sending a postcard with their name and address to "Drawstring Guidelines," CPSC, Washington, D.C. 20207.