CPSC Recalls Kids’ Rain Ponchos over Drawstrings

Another children’s clothing product is being recalled because of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">dangerous drawstrings that pose a strangulation hazard.  Despite the fact that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) established standards for drawstrings on children’s clothing in 1996, they are roundly ignored by the industry, and such recalls are common.  This latest drawstring recall involves rain ponchos sold at Daiso stores in California and Washington state.

According to the CPSC, the recalled plastic rain ponchos were sold in yellow or blue and have a drawstring in the hood. Japanese lettering is printed on the packaging. They were sold in Daiso stores between February 2007 through November 2007 for $1.50.  The CPSC said consumers should immediately remove the drawstrings from the rain ponchos to eliminate the hazard.  For additional information, consumers should contact Daiso LLC toll-free at (866) 768-4620 between 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.daisollc.com.

Since April 1, 2007, there have been 17 recalls of more than 190,000 units of children’s clothing because they had drawstrings in the hood or neck.  This despite the existence of an 11-year old voluntary industry standard that instructs manufacturers not to use drawstrings in the neck area of children’s outerwear and to make sure drawstrings at the waist are of a certain length, have no toggles or knots, and are sewn in the back so they can’t move.  The CPSC has similar guidelines on the books, and both New York and Wisconsin have made the standard mandatory.

Still the guidelines are routinely ignored by the clothing industry, and that attitude has had deadly consequences for some children.  From January 1985 through January 1999, the CPSC received reports of 22 deaths and 48 non-fatal entanglement incidents involving drawstrings on children’s clothing

The CPSC can take action if it sees voluntary standards being flouted, which includes levying fines.  That is what it has done in the case of eight firms last month, including Kohl’s Department Stores and Neiman Marcus, that did not report hazardous drawstring clothing to the agency.  Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report dangerous products to the CPSC within 24 hours after learning that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates a federal safety standards.

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