For the last decade or so, children’s clothing with drawstrings have been illegal to sell in this country. Such items still often go on the market, as our monthly Recall Roundups show, and older hand-me-downs may still have the offending strings. A recent investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office found banned kids’ clothes in the majority of thrift stores that it checked in the state.
Of course, the existence of drawstrings doesn’t make a garment completely unwearable. Making them safe can be as simple as removing the drawstrings or cutting them to three inches or shorter.
Strings are banned in kids’ clothes from sizes 2T to 12 because of the risk of strangulation. Specifically, there have been terrifying cases where the ends of drawstrings caught inside the door flaps of a school bus, or on a handrail. There have been documented cases of this, including a 14-year-old dragged to death under a school bus in upstate New York in 1996.
“There’s no question it’s a difficult job when you consider the sheer volume of donations we ask our people to screen,” a Salvation Army executive told the Journal-News. “The fact these items are one-of-a-kind means it’s not as simple as removing a certain rack, as it does for retailers of merchandise.”