Risk of Strangulation of Infants by
IV Tubing and Monitor Leads

July 30, 2002


Health Canada
Health Products and Food Branch


Dear Health Care Provider,

Health Canada is concerned about reports of suffocation and death in young children caused by entanglement in IV tubing when children are treated in hospital. Young children are at risk of strangulation from any type of cord, whether these are consumer products such as blind cords, or medical devices such as electronic leads or IV tubing. Leaving a child unattended in any environment where entanglement with a cord, tube, or lead is possible may have disastrous consequences.


Health Canada recommends the following:

  • All hospitalized children who could possibly become entangled in a lead or tubing should be continuously observed by an adult or placed on a monitor.

  • Consider treating hospitalized children with oral therapy, or a heparin-locked needle if possible.

  • Coil excess tubing when the child is unattended to prevent the infant/child from becoming entangled.

  • Inform hospital staff, parents, and other care-givers that young children are at risk of entanglement and strangulation by IV tubing, electronic leads, or cords of any sort.

Health Canada asks that you share these recommendations with your staff or membership and encourage their implementation in the interest of patient safety.


If you have any concerns, problems or complaints pertaining to medical devices, you may report them to Health Canada at the address below, or through a toll-free Hot Line at 1-800-267-9675.


Health Products & Food Branch Inspectorate
Health Canada
Tower "A", Holland Cross
11 Holland Ave.
Address Locator: 3002C
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9


R.G. Rotter, Ph.D.

Director, Medical Devices Bureau

Tel.: (613) 957-4786


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