Drawstrings on clothes a lethal threat to children
SMALL children are at risk of being strangled by clothes with drawstrings which are on sale throughout Europe.
Parents have been urged to report examples of dangerous clothing to the authorities after a survey found one-in-10 garments on sale with drawstrings or cords was potentially lethal.
The EU Commission issued a consumer alert after a survey in 11 countries, including Ireland, showed 10pc of children's clothes with drawstrings were dangerous.
Clothes for children under seven years old should not have drawstrings in the hood and neck area, and parents have been urged to report instances to the National Consumer Agency.
Inspectors in Ireland found 18 garments on sale, or 3pc of those monitored, which did not conform with EU safety rules in the investigation carried out during 2009. Across Europe, there were over 2000 more.
Although no fatalities have been reported in Ireland, it is likely drawstrings on children's clothes have caused injuries requiring hospital treatment, said European Consumer Centre Ireland spokesperson Caroline Curneen.
Accidents which have occurred in Europe include: a two-year-old girl in Greece being strangled to death in 2008 when the toggle on a hood drawstring got caught on a slide; and a 10-year-old child getting dragged under the wheels of a bus when their waist drawstring got caught in the door of a bus.
A survey of hospitals in seven EU countries also found that 150 children aged up to 14 years received emergency hospital treatment for injuries caused by cords and drawstrings in 2002.
However, it was not so much the number of accidents as their "extreme seriousness" that was of concern, the EU said.