A 5-year-old girl was badly hurt when the cord of her school hat wrapped around her neck in a playground accident
A 5-year-old girl was badly hurt when the cord of her school hat wrapped around her neck in a playground accident

Shocking string of school hat strangulations: Time to ban?

SOUTH Australia has finally taken action after a shocking string of schoolyard hat strangulation incidents, so is it time Queensland follows suit?

The Chronicle recently reported on a similar incident at a Toowoomba school where a Year 1 student, 5, was playing with her friends at recess when she jumped from the climbing net on the side of the playground.

Her broad-brimmed hat became stuck between the nets, leaving her hanging by the neck for a few seconds before the cord snapped.

The distressed mother, who wished her family to remain anonymous, contacted The Chronicle hoping to warn other parents that a simple clip was all it took to prevent similar incidents.

"It looks like her throat's been slit. The doctor checked her out and there has been no damage to vocal cords but she could have broken her neck," the mother said at the time.

"You drop your child off at school and assume they are safe. I know accidents happen but preventable ones shouldn't.

"We look at children's safety so much these days and for this hat to still be available isn't acceptable.

"It is a death waiting to happen. To pick your child up from school and know she has almost hung herself is horrible and she is traumatised by it."

The South Australian Department for Education and Child Development acted swiftly to issue a hazard alert after two similar incidents were reported in quick succession.

Should schools ban hats with cords?

This poll ended on 24 March 2017.

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It notified all public schools to take the following steps:

  • inspect school hats worn by students and remove any cords
  • check their current stock of hats and clothing in their uniform shops and immediately remove any cords, including draw strings on hooded tops
  • review the design of their school hats and clothing to ensure that the hats on offer do not have chin straps, cords, drawstrings and toggles and hooded clothing has no draw string
  • prohibit the wearing of any uniform or other hats that do not meet the above safety recommendations
  • ensure children are supervised appropriately for their age and the play equipment being used
  • ensure play equipment, particularly the slippery dip and fireman's pole, is free from pinch points, sharp edges or protrusions that may catch cords, drawstrings and toggles.

The department was also in the process of contacting the panel of approved clothing suppliers to ensure that all schools were able to offer an alternative hat without a chin cord.

Do you think Queensland should follow suit?

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