Health Canada has notified manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of children’s upper outerwear that the following products can pose a danger to children: children’s upper outerwear in sizes newborn to 12 that have drawstrings in the hood and neck area, and upper outerwear in sizes 2T to 16 that do not meet ASTM Standard F1816-97, Standard Safety Specification for Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear.

“Children’s upper outerwear” means upper body clothing, such as jackets and sweatshirts, generally intended to be worn over other clothing. Drawstrings on these garments can become caught on playground equipment, fences or other objects and result in strangulation, or in the case of a vehicle, a child being dragged; Health Canada has received reports of 16 such incidents in Canada between 1988 and 2014, including three deaths, and there have been 38 related recalls in the past eight years.

Under paragraphs 7(a) and 8(a) of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, persons who manufacture, import, advertise or sell consumer products are responsible for making sure that their products do not pose a danger to human health or safety. To reduce the risk of these products causing a risk of injury or death, Health Canada has advised that they should, at a minimum, comply with the requirements set out in the notice (e.g., children’s upper outerwear in sizes newborn to 12 must not have drawstrings in the hood and neck area, and children’s upper outerwear in Sizes 2T to 16 should comply with ASTM Standard F1816-97). Certain exclusions apply. For more information, contact the Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Healthy Environments and Community Safety Branch, at cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca.