The Commission has determined that hood and neck drawstrings on children's upper outerwear in sizes 2T to 12 or the equivalent present a strangulation hazard that is a substantial product hazard.
In addition, the Commission has determined that waist and bottom drawstrings on children's upper outerwear not meeting certain requirements also present a substantial product hazard. The length of drawstrings at the waist and bottom of children's upper outerwear in sizes 2T to 16 or the equivalent has been limited to 3 inches outside the drawstring channel when the garment is expanded to its fullest width; such garments must be free of toggles, knots, and other attachments at the free ends of drawstrings. If a waist or bottom drawstring in upper outerwear sizes 2T to 16 or the equivalent is one continuous string, it must be bar tacked (i.e., stitched through to prevent the drawstring from being pulled through its channel).
See our resources, including additional frequently asked questions, below.
What is the Hazard?
Young children can be seriously injured or killed if the upper outerwear they are wearing catches and snags on other objects. CPSC staff is aware of 26 deaths and 73 nonfatal incidents associated with neck/hood drawstrings on children’s outerwear between January 1985 and June 2019, involving children 18 months to 15 years of age. Of these, the most common incident scenarios involved drawstrings getting entangled on playground slides. Typically, as a child descended the slide, the toggle or knot on the drawstring got caught in a small space or gap at the top of the slide. Examples of catch points include a protruding bolt or a tiny space between the guardrail and the slide platform. This can present a strangulation risk and has resulted in death. Incidents have also occurred when the long, trailing drawstring at the waist of a jacket was caught on the closed door of a moving school bus.
Where can I find additional information?
For more information, please contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Office of Compliance (for specific enforcement inquires): e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone: (800) 638-2772.
- Small Business Ombudsman (for general assistance understanding and complying with CPSC regulations): e-mail: Please use our Contact Form, which is the best way to get a fast response; telephone: (888) 531-9070.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Prohibition on Drawstrings in Children's Upper Outerwear
- Classification of Drawstrings in Children's Upper Outerwear as a "Substantial Product Hazard": 16 CFR Part 1120
- Safety Standard on Drawstrings in Children's Upper Outerwear: ASTM F 1816-97
- Consumer Education: Drawstrings Not Allowed
This communication has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is based upon the facts and information presented. This communication does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and has not been reviewed or approved by the Commission, and does not necessarily represent its views. Any views expressed in this communication may be changed or superseded by the Commission.