Children’s Wear Makers to Remove Potentially Hazardous Drawstrings With PM-Drawstring
Children’s Wear Makers to Remove Potentially Hazardous Drawstrings With PM-Drawstring Hazard-List
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Drawstrings, which have been blamed for a dozen child strangulations since 1985, will be removed from the hoods and necks of children’s clothing beginning this fall.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that 21 makers of children’s clothing have agreed to begin replacing the strings with buttons, snaps, Velcro and zippers starting this fall, or by the fall of 1995.
″Drawstrings are a deadly hazard,″ commission Chairman Ann Brown said at a news conference.
The companies, which include Nike Inc. of Oregon, Oshkosh B’Gosh Inc. of Wisconsin, L.L. Bean of Maine and Levi Strauss & Co. of California, make 20 million pieces of children’s wear annually, she said.
The children’s clothing industry does not keep track of the number of garments manufactured with neck and hood drawstrings, Brown said. Also unavailable was the portion of the market the 21 companies represent.
Brown also urged parents who recently bought clothing with drawstrings for their children or who already own such items to immediately pull the strings out. She also suggested sewing them onto the garment so that they can’t be pulled or cutting the strings as short as possible.
Thelma Sibley, the mother of a 5-year-old girl who died in January after the string of her coat got caught on a slide at a school playground in Ann Arbor, Mich., described the announcement as bittersweet.
″The bitter side is a great remorse because I do wish that Ann (Brown) was here a year ago,″ said Sibley, who wore a pin with a picture of her daughter, Nancy, on her lapel. ″But my goal has been achieved. Parents will now know nationwide.″
Sibley, who had also launched a campaign to alert other parents to the danger, still wants the commission to require manufacturers to remove the drawstrings from all children’s clothing.
The commission, meanwhile, also plans to send fliers to schools and children’s organizations this fall to warn of the hazard.
Brown, who assumed the chairmanship in March, said she became interested in the issue after learning that England banned them in 1976 after the strangulation deaths of three children.
She said the safety agency sought cooperation from the industry instead of an outright ban because ″we were looking to move as quickly as possible.″ But that doesn’t mean a mandatory regulation won’t happen.
The commission’s staff is preparing recommendations for the three-member panel and is likely to suggest some kind of regulation, a spokeswoman said, adding that the recommendations should be ready in about a month.