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Strangulation Hazards

Hidden Dangers


Updated October 28, 2012

Suffocation is a leading cause of accidental death in children.

These suffocation deaths include:

  • strangulation - including strangulation in a window blind cord, clothing with drawstrings, and soccer goal nets, etc.
  • suffocation and strangulation in bed - such as from hanging crib toys or entrapment in a broken crib
  • choking on food
  • choking on non-food items, such as small toys and magnets

Preventing Strangulation

To keep your kids safe and avoid strangulation hazards, it may help to:

  • only put your baby to sleep in a crib that meets all of the current safety standards and remove any item that could pose a choking or strangulation hazard.
  • encourage your kids not to place things around their neck, such as a jump rope, since they can get caught on something, tighten, and pose a strangulation hazard.
  • never tie a pacifier or other item around your infant or toddler's neck.
  • don't dress your children in clothing with long hood or neck drawstrings, since they can get caught on something, tighten, and pose a strangulation hazard. Remove the drawstrings or buy clothing with snaps, velcro, buttons, or elastic instead.
  • keep your child's bed or crib away from any hanging cords, including a window blind cord, baby monitor electrical cord, and even wall decorations with ribbons or streamers that could pose a strangulation hazard.
  • never leave ropes or cords hanging around the house.
  • only let your kids play with age-appropriate toys.
  • remove hanging crib toys from your child's crib before he is able to pull to a standing position.
  • avoid letting your kids play on outdoor playground equipment that has cargo netting with openings that are between 17 and 28 inches, since that is a size that can allow a child's head to get trapped in the net. Netting should either be smaller, so that your child's head can't fit through the net, or much larger, so it can't get trapped.
  • install cordless window coverings in your child's bedroom.
  • replace or repair window blinds that were sold before 1994, as the outer cord of these window blinds ended in a loop that posed a strangulation hazard.
  • replace or repair window blinds that were sold before November 2000, as the inner cord of these window blinds can pose a strangulation hazard if a child pulls on them and the cord forms a loop that can get around their neck.
  • replace Roman shades or roll up blinds that have looped pull cords or exposed inner cords.

It is also important to learn CPR and keep emergency numbers by the phone.


Consumer Product Safety Commission. Children Can Strangle When They Become Entangled in Wall Decorations with Ribbons and Streamers. CPSC Document #5105

Consumer Product Safety Commission. Strings, Cords, and Necklaces Can Strangle Infants. CPSC Document #5095.

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