Caring for Our Childen (CFOC)

Chapter 3: Health Promotion and Protection

3.4 Health Protection in Child Care

3.4.6 Strangulation

3.4.6.1: Strangulation Hazards


Strings and cords (such as those that are parts of toys and those found on window coverings) long enough to encircle a child’s neck should not be accessible to children in child care. Miniblinds and venetian blinds should not have looped cords. Vertical blinds, continuous looped blinds, and drapery cords should have tension or tie-down devices to hold the cords tight. Inner cord stops should be installed. Shoulder straps on guitars and chin straps on hats should be removed (1).

Straps/handles on purses/bags used for dramatic play should be removed or shortened. Ties, scarves, necklaces, and boas used for dramatic play should not be used for children under three years. If used by children three years and over, children should be supervised.

Pacifiers attached to strings or ribbons should not be placed around infants’ necks or attached to infants’ clothing.

Hood and neck strings from all children’s outerwear, including jackets and sweatshirts, should be removed. Drawstrings on the waist or bottom of garments should not extend more than three inches outside the garment when it is fully expanded. These strings should have no knots or toggles on the free ends. The drawstring should be sewn to the garment at its midpoint so the string cannot be pulled out through one side.

RATIONALE
Window covering cords are associated with strangulation of young children under (2,4). Infants can become entangled in cords from window coverings near their cribs. Since 1990, more than 200 infants and young children have died from unintentional strangulation in window cords (5).

Cords and ribbons tied to pacifiers can become tightly twisted, or can catch on crib cornerposts or other protrusions, causing strangulation.

Clothing strings on children’s clothing, necklaces and scarves can catch on playground equipment and strangle children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reported deaths and injuries involving the entanglement of children’s clothing drawstrings (3).

COMMENTS
Children’s outerwear that has alternative closures (e.g., snaps, buttons, hook and loop, and elastic) are recommended (3).

It is advisable that caregivers avoid wearing necklaces or clothing with drawstrings that could cause entanglement.

For additional information regarding the prevention of strangulation from strings on toys, window coverings, clothing, contact the CPSC. See http://www.windowcoverings.org for the latest blind cord safety information.

TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
5.3.1.1 Safety of Equipment, Materials, and Furnishings
REFERENCES
  1. U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Strings and straps on toys can strangle young children. http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/122499/5100.pdf
  2. Window Covering Safety Council. 2011. New study released on window covering safety awareness. http://www.windowcoverings.org/about-2/
  3. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 1999. Guidelines for drawstrings on children’s outerwear. Bethesda, MD: CPSC. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/208.pdf.
  4. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Are your window coverings safe? Washington, DC: CPSC.
  5. Window Covering Safety Council. Basic cord safety. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-study-released-on-window-cord-safety-awareness-115561629.html.