ASTM F1816-18: Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear

Father putting on his child's jacket that adheres to safety specifications in ASTM F1816-18.

Clothing can be hazardous to children, and, as such, certain standards on children’s safety are critical. ASTM F1816-18: Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear provides specifications on the safety of children’s upper outwear.

Why Is Children’s Outwear a Hazard?

Knots, toggles, and other decorative or functional attachments on the ends of long, loose drawstrings can catch and snag onto objects. A drawstring, as defined by ASTM F1816-18, is a non-retractable cord, ribbon, or tape of any material used to pull together parts of upper outerwear for closure. Two potential hazards associated with such drawstrings on children’s upper outerwear include:

  1. The strangulation hazard: A risk of being strangled by anything put around a child’s neck. It is associated with hood and neck area drawstrings of upper outerwear. For example, children’s hood and neck drawstrings have been caught on playground equipment, cribs, a fence, an escalator, or farm machinery, resulting in strangulation.
  2. The vehicular dragging hazard: A risk associated with waist and bottom drawstrings of upper outerwear. For example, incidents and deaths have occurred when a waist and bottom drawstring was snagged on a school bus handrails or in school bus doors, usually when the child descended the steps to get off the school bus.

The ASTM F1816-18 Standard for Drawstrings on Children’s Outerwear

ASTM F1816-18 is intended to reduce strangulation and vehicular dragging hazards associated with drawstrings on children’s upper outerwear, which includes jackets and sweatshirts. Outwear is generally worn on the exterior of other clothing. Here are the sizes for outwear this standard covers:

  1. Sizes 2T to 12 for neck/hood drawstrings
  2. Sizes 2T to 16 for waist/bottom drawstrings

The standard specifies that there shall be no drawstrings in the hood and neck area of children’s upper outerwear sizes 2T to 12. The goal of this consumer safety specification is to reduce the risk of drawstrings on children’s upper outwear accessing and getting snagged in various entrapment areas.

Child going down a slide safely with his upper outwear adhering to ASTM F1816-18.

What Is an Alternative to Drawstrings?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends as an alternative to drawstrings at the upper neck of outwear that manufactures and retailers provide children’s upper outerwear with these closures:

  • Snaps
  • Buttons
  • Velcro
  • Elastic

In regards to the waist and bottom drawstrings of upper outerwear, belts are not considered as drawstrings and therefore are not identified as a potential product hazard.

How Can Clothing Be Hazardous to Children?

The clothes children wear daily may be hazardous. Here are some hazards associated with children’s clothing:

ASTM F1816-18: Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear is available on the ANSI Webstore.

Child in a jacket without drawstrings, adhering to safety specifications in ASTM F1816-18, as she leaves her mom's car to go to school.
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