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Strangling alert over children's clothing

An alert about the lethal danger of children's clothes with drawstrings has been issued by the EU Commission which says that young children are at risk of being strangled.

Parents are being urged to report dangerous clothes to the authorities after a survey found one in 10 items with drawstrings could potentially kill.

Clothes for under-sevens should not have drawstrings in the hood and neck area and parents are being asked to report such clothing to the National Consumer Agency.


Inspectors in Ireland found that 3pc of clothes did not conform with EU safety rules in a survey carried out during 2009.

The alert follows an EU survey in 11 countries, including Ireland, which showed that 10pc of children's clothes with drawstrings were dangerous.

A total of 16,300 garments were examined in the survey of retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and importers and 2,188 of the items assessed did not comply with one or more safety rules.

In Ireland, inspectors examined 640 garments at 21 unnamed retailers and found that 18 of the garments breached the rules.

Although no children in Ireland are reported to have died from accidents with drawstrings, the European Consumer Centre in Ireland believes that the clothes have caused injuries requiring hospital treatment.

A two-year-old girl in Greece was strangled to death in 2008 when the toggle on a hood drawstring got caught on a slide and a 10-year-old child was dragged under the wheels of a bus when the child's waist drawstring got caught in the door.

A survey of hospitals in seven EU countries also found that 150 children up to the age of 14 had to be treated in accident and emergency departments for injuries caused by cords and drawstrings in 2002.

It was not the number of accidents so much as their "extreme seriousness" that was the greatest cause for concern said an EU spokesperson.

EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli warned parents to be aware of the dangers when dressing small children.

The Commission believes that clothes for children up to the age of seven should not have cords or drawstrings in the hood and neck and children between seven and 14 should not have cords longer than 75mm.