Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is pushing to end the illegal sales of drawstring children's clothing at thrift stores. Recently, a survey by the Attorney General's office found that 90% of thrift shops across New York State were selling the illegal clothes. Drawstrings are illegal on Children's clothing in New York because of the threat they could pose to a child's health and safety. The Attorney General sent 46 thrift shops cease and desist letters, ordering them to stop selling the clothing.
“The sale of children’s clothing with drawstrings has been illegal in New York for more than a decade – and that includes the sale of these items by thrift stores,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “No child should be put at risk simply because of the clothing that he or she is wearing. With these warning letters, we are sending a clear signal that thrift shops, like all retailers, must comply with the law – that they cannot sell clothing that puts children at risk of injury, strangulation and death. Beyond that, my office also hopes to also raise parents’ awareness of the serious dangers posed by children’s drawstring clothing.”
The Attorney General's office says, as a result of the cease and desist letters, the thrift stores have acted quickly to remove the offending products from their shelves.
Here are the details of the law: it's illegal to sell any item of children’s clothing, up to and including size 12, with a drawstring at the neck. Drawstrings are permissible at the top of a bottom garment (i.e., at the waist of sweatpants), or at the bottom of an upper garment (i.e., at the waist of a jacket) in children’s clothing sized from 2T to 16, if the following conditions are met:
- The drawstring is attached to the garment at its midpoint, so it cannot be fully pulled to one side, thus making it a hazard.
- The ends of the drawstring measure no more than three inches from the point where the drawstring exits the garment to the tip of the drawstring, measured while the garment is expanded to its fullest width.
- No toggles, knots, or attachments can be placed at the ends of the drawstrings other than a standard metal or plastic sheath covering on the end to prevent fraying.
The following is a list of the thrift shops in Monroe County that were found to be selling children’s clothing with hazardous, illegal drawstrings:
ABVI-Clinton Goodwill, Rochester
Matthew’s Closet, Rochester
Salvation Army, Rochester (East Ridge Road)
Salvation Army, Rochester (Elmridge Center Drive)
Volunteers of America, Rochester