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Child strangling is an often overlooked danger. Nearly 1,000 kids under the age of 14 are strangled to death each year from all types of causes, according to SafeKids USA. Almost 90% of these deaths are in children ages 4 and under.

Strangulation can happen in the blink of an eye. A person in a choke hold can black out in as little as two to three seconds, and so a child who ends up with something cutting off their blood supply might lose consciousness just as quickly. If they black out in such a position with nobody else around, it doesn’t matter if their feet can reach the floor, they will likely die.

Common Child Strangulation Risks

Window cords & Blinds

(See next page on window cords)

Children Strangles by Clothing

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled hundreds of thousands of children’s clothes with drawstrings around the neck in the past two years, and the agency is pushing to ban them. One recall came after a 3-year-old boy in Fresno State strangled to death after his sweatshirt got stuck on a playground set.

Eliminating this strangling danger: While the CPSC is working on legislation, parents can take issues into their own hands by not purchasing clothes with drawstrings around the neck, and by cutting & removing any such drawstrings that are currently in their children’s clothes.

Children Strangles by Swing sets

Rope swings are particularly dangerous, but children have been strangled by chain ones too. If you have a swing set, talk to your kids about the dangers of wrapping themselves up in the chain or rope, and never leave a swing broken or tangled.

Children Strangles by Electrical cords

As difficult as it might seem for a child to strangle themselves with an electrical cord, these are a common culprit in child strangulation cases, especially those that occur with infants and toddlers. Make sure that all cords are secured to the wall and not dangling, and pay close attention to the lights on your tree or around the house during holidays.

Children Strangles by Exercise equipment

The combination of cords and moving, mechanical parts makes exercise equipment a common source of child strangulation. The 4-year-old daughter of boxer Mike Tyson died this way after becoming entangled in a cord on a treadmill. You should treat your exercise room with the same precaution you would treat a pool, and NEVER let children play there unsupervised.

Children Strangles by Necklaces and jewelry chains

If the chain is strong enough and the child catches it on something, it could strangle them. Always make kids take off chains and necklaces before playing.

Other strangulation risks:

  • Dog leashes
  • Plant holders

Strangling prevention safety rules for kids:

  1. Teach children to never wrap anything around their neck. This goes for ropes, sheets, blankets, electrical cords, etc. If they want to make superman capes, help them do it with Velcro or by safety-pinning it to their shirt, but don’t wrap or tie something around their neck.
  1. Reinforce no climbing rules, since strangulation often occurs during instances when a child has been climbing on something.

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