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Information video on unsafe cords and drawstrings in children’s clothing
A recently finished joint action undertaken by PROSAFE and 11 Member States showed that children’s clothes with non-compliant cords and drawstrings are still too common on the European market. Therefore a video has been produced to inform manufacturers, importers, designers, retailers and parents about unsafe cords and drawstrings on children’s clothes.
Long cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing present a serious risk to children. Therefore, PROSAFE and 11 Member States carried out a joint action on children’s clothing with cords and drawstrings which began in August 2008. The participants in the joint action took measures against more than 2,100 non-compliant garments. Two-thirds were for small children (0 – 7 years). The most common non-compliance was related to cords and drawstrings in the hood and neck area (some 60% of all cases). Cords and drawstrings in the chest and waist area accounted for another 20%.
Every year, accidents happen to children around the world due to the presence of cords and drawstrings in clothes. In some cases, the accidents can be fatal. Long strings in hoods or collars may strangle a child if they get stuck or tangled up in playground equipment, and long strings on the back of a garment may get caught in a bus door, as the child alights, causing severe injuries when the bus starts.
The participants have produced an information video on unsafe cords and drawstrings in children’s clothing to inform manufacturers, importers, designers, retailers and parents about the risks and the most common and dangerous non-compliances. The video can be viewed at PROSAFE website www.prosafe.org or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n-VeALc7xw&feature=player_embedded
According to the General Product Safety Directive any product that is placed on the European market must be safe; an obligation to which producers, importers and retailers must commit. Cords and drawstrings on children’s clothes are presumed to be safe if they meet the requirements of the European standard EN 14682 “Safety of children’s clothing – Cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing – Specifications”.
The joint action is coordinated by PROSAFE, “The Product Safety Enforcement Forum of Europe”. It is a non-profit organisation bringing together market surveillance officers from all over Europe and across the world.
Advice to consumers
Consumers may come across non-compliant clothes in shops or may currently have them in their possession. Parents or other relatives may also have made clothes for children. The participating market surveillance authorities therefore have issued the following 7 recommendations:
The seven most important recommendations on children’s clothes:
No cords or drawstrings in the hood or around the neck of clothes for children up to 7 years (height 1.34 m).
No cords longer than 75 mm in the hood or around the neck on clothes for children between 7 and 14 years. Drawstrings should not have free ends. Cords should not be elastic (except for shoulder straps and halter necks).
No cords or drawstrings with long free ends in the chest and waist area. (Free ends must be shorter than 280 mm, when the garment is tied to the intended size.)
No free ends in the hood and neck area on halter neck-style children’s clothes.
No cords or drawstrings in the back or intended to be tied on the back.
No tied belts or sashes with free ends longer than 360mm, when measured untied from the point where they are to be tied.
No cords or drawstrings trailing below the sleeve or hem of garments. Drawstrings, functional cords and decorative cords at the bottom hem of long-legged trousers shall be totally on the inside of the garment.
Homemade children’s clothes or hand made clothes from craft markets should also meet the above recommendations.
If you already possess children’s clothes that fail to meet the above recommendations you should remove or cut off the cord or drawstring. If you have recently bought the garment, return it to the shop where it was bought, warn the seller of the risks posed by the garment and request an exchange. You may also contact your local market surveillance office. Retailers should return non-compliant product to their distributor.
Cords are strings that are fixed to the garment.
Drawstrings are strings that pass through a channel or loops on the garment.
A belt must be more than 30 mm wide.
This action has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.
EU Member States take action against dangerous cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing
The European Commission has received more than 250 RAPEX notifications on dangerous children’s clothes from January to August 2009, almost five times more than the same period last year. Work by participants in the joint action has assisted in focusing attention on the risks posed by cords and drawstrings in children’s clothes and has undoubtedly contributed to the increase in RAPEX notifications.
Advice to consumers
Despite the activities of the market surveillance authorities, it is foreseeable that consumers may come across non-compliant clothes in shops or in their possession. Parents or other relatives may also themselves submit clothes for children. The participating market surveillance authorities therefore have issued the following 6 recommendations:
EU Member States Take Action against Dangerous Cords and Drawstrings on Children’s Clothing
Long cords and drawstrings can pose a high risk of strangulation to children. EU Market surveillance authorities have serious concerns about the exposure of children to these risks and have decided to raise awareness of this problem. It is important, in order to protect children from injuries, for stakeholders, particularly parents and guardians to be alert to the potential dangers.
European Market surveillance authorities continue to receive notifications of accidents where cords or drawstrings on children’s garments had become entangled in, bicycles, doors, car doors or playground apparatus. These types of incidents can lead to severe injury and in the most tragic cases, to the death of the child. Member States have prioritized the market surveillance of these products to ensure that cords or drawstrings on outer garments for children under 14 years, meet the necessary safety requirements.
In 2008, PROSAFE- The Product Safety Enforcement Forum of Europe- initiated a joint market surveillance action on “Cords and Drawstrings on Children’s Clothing“. Representatives from ten EU Member States and other relevant stakeholders are participating in this join action. The primary objective of the Joint Action is to ensure that children’s clothing is safe.
The Joint Action Group is calling on parents, guardians and relatives to take precautions and ensure that their children’s outer garments do not have trailing strings or draw-cords. The Joint Action Group has drawn up a number of recommendations in relation to the safety of children’s clothing. These include the following:
Cord: A string that is fixed to the garment and serves decorative purposes or is used to adjust the size of an opening or to fasten the garment.
According to the European Community’s General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) products, including clothes that are placed on the EC market MUST be safe. Producers, importers and retailers have an obligation to ensure this. The GPSD notably provides for special protection and attention to groups of consumers that are particularly vulnerable such as children.
The new standard on draw-cords, EN 14682: 2007, developed by the European Committee for standardization CEN, is based on the provisions of the GPSD. If the business complies with this new standard it is assumed that children’s clothes are safe. The PROSAFE Cords and Drawstrings Joint Action relies on the assumptions of both the GPSD and the standard for cords and drawstrings. PROSAFE is a non- profit organization, financially supported by the European Commission with the scope of enhancing market surveillance through best practice.
Even though the joint action is still not concluded the notified accidents have given clear proof to the fact that clothing for small and newborn children with attached drawstring or cords poses a high risk to the young and unaware group of end users. For this reason the message to both parents is: “Try to renounce those potentially dangerous fashion accessories”.
The message to business stakeholders dealing with children’s textiles is: “You are responsible for the safety of the products you bring on the market. Be aware of the legislation and the standard”.