Young girl saved by older student after her hat cord became stuck in a playground slide.

Yesterday we shared the story of an older student who was praised for saving the life of her schoolmate who was being strangled when the cord of her hat snagged on a playground slide.

The incident at a public primary school in Adelaide’s south, has prompted parents to call for a ban on hats with “death hazard” cords and straps, reports Adelaide Now.

Marley Oster, 6, was hung by the neck last Thursday lunchtime when her hat cord became caught when she was using the spiral slide. The hat’s safety clip failed to release.

Her mum, Gail Oster, who bought the hat from the school’s uniform shop the previous day, said doctors told her the accident could have been fatal if quick acting, Madison Fleming, 8, hadn’t come to her daughter’s rescue.

Madison was able to ease her way down the slide and release the safety clip, setting Marley free.

“It resulted in a really bad neck injury. The doctor told me another 45 seconds and her windpipe would have collapsed,” said Mrs Oster, of McLaren Flat.

marley neck burn

The doctor also said that if another child had come down the slide at normal speed and collided with Marley, not realising she was there, the force could have “broken her neck”.

“She’s been having nightmares ever since. She’s never had nightmares in her life,” Mrs Oster said.

“It’s a freak accident but it could have been a death.

“They have a potential death hazard they are selling to parents. The schools have to ban those hats.”

“The bell was about to go (when the accident happened). If Madison wasn’t there all the children would have been inside and Marley would have been left there.

“The slide faces the carpark at the back of the school so no-one would have found her.”

In a letter to parents, the school said it would “suspend further sales of this style of hat and seek further safety advice”, while “working to provide an alternative style of hat”.

**Update 22 February 2017*

SA’s Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) have advised parents and teachers of a Hazard Alert today.

All schools and preschools in the state have been told to ensure that students don’t wear adjustable cords on their hats or hooded tops.

“Ensure hats and clothing do not have chin straps, cords, drawstrings, toggles and hooded clothing has no draw strings,” the alert read.

Any uniform or hats that do not meet the guidelines are “prohibited” from today.

“In the first instance we’ll just get rid of cords, they’re recognised as a danger and we’ll determine what to do with our supplier and our parent groups,” Education Minister Susan Close told 9NEWS.

The DECD also said that school play equipment – especially slippery slides and firemen’s poles – should be “free of pinch points and sharp edges”.

Spokespeople for Victoria’s and New South Wales’s education departments have told 9news.com.au that they do not have similar plans.

Do you think it should be a national ban?

school hat safety

Last week we shared a warning to parents after a young girl was badly hurt when the cord of her school hat wrapped around her neck.

The Chronicle reported last week, that a five year old 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.

cord round neck

She suffered bad rope burn around her neck but her mum, who wishes her family to remain anonymous, said it could have been much worse.

“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,” she said.

“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 mother wanted to tell her daughter’s story to make other parents aware of the possible dangers of broad-brimmed hats.

“When I bought the hat I wondered if it was safe having a cord around my little girl’s neck but I thought it must be safe if it is a compulsory school uniform,” she said.

“But as a parent I should have realised it wasn’t a good idea.”

Kidsafe Queensland CEO Susan Teerds told News.com.au it was a preventable incident.

“You used to hear of this happening more often before the quick release clip-on broad-brimmed hats were introduced a few years ago,” she said.

“Broad-brimmed hats now come with small clips attached to the string and under a small amount of pressure the string releases, to avoid this happening.

“Every school and chain store needs to recommend these hats to parents. They should be available to all schools.

“We know that having a drawstring around a child’s neck can be a hazard so we need to do anything we can to make it safer.

“One injury is one injury too many and children could even die from this.

“The shock of it would have been horrendous for the young girl.”

The Toowoomba mother said the quick-release hats were not available at her school.

“I did some research into these hats and my school doesn’t offer them and I don’t know how many other schools around Toowoomba also don’t stock them,” she said. “I have suggested it to the principal that they become available.”

Do you think these hats should be banned from schools? 

Share your comments below.

Image via getty

  • Don’t think these are banned in Victoria, anyway know more?


  • I still see lids wearing these all the time


  • i would cut those strings off! the child’s safety is so important! my gosh, that is so scary!


  • Your heart sinks when you hear stories like this. So glad the result wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.


  • My goodness. How terrifying!


  • Hats with no cords are the way to go.


  • The school offers an alternative ‘safer’ legionnaires style hat, but she chose the broad brimmed hat? hmmmm….. Not just the school to blame, accidents happen. A one in a million chance that a child has a minor injury caused by a hat cord or a 1 in 2 chance my child ends up with skin cancer from not being protected properly. I know which one I would prefer.


  • We had this discussion when my son was at Primary School and they went with these hats over bucket hats. We found that the kids chewed on the cord and it was more a nuisance than anything. I’m not convinced that they’re great as the cord can be problematic. No cord needed, really.


  • My view NO not the hat but the cord. Wide brimmed hats give a far greater sun protection: shaded protection all around the head ..legionnaires caps have a good amount of fabric covering the back of the neck but have no protection at all for the ear area.
    This school needs to keep the hat but add a clip release cord or go no cord at all to the design.


  • This could have ended in tragedy. I agree that these hats should be banned everywhere especially at schools. Just glad she is okay apart from the scare and the rope burn.


  • I agree with others, get rid of the cord.


  • Should be a manufacturing requirement – and not even a question when it comes to hats for children.


  • Until a better design comes along, it’s better to remove the cords.


  • Thank God the girl isn’t more seriously injured !!
    Like other mums are mentioning already – I always remove the cords.


  • I have always preferred a Legionnaire hat over any hat with a cord.

    • Cords on any hats and items that is a possible hazard is always removed.


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by you browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating