Nine Firms To Pay Over $350,000 In Children’s Clothing Drawstring Cases

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced that nine firms have agreed to pay a combined $355,000 in civil penalties, settling allegations that the firms knowingly failed to report to the CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, that their children’s hooded sweatshirts, jackets, or sweaters were sold with <"">dangerous drawstrings at the hood and neck. The CPSC can take action if it sees voluntary standards being flouted, which includes levying fines.  The settlements have been provisionally accepted.

Over a decade ago, in February 1996, the CPSC issued drawstring guidelines created to help prevent children from strangling or becoming entangled on the neck and waist drawstrings in upper outerwear, such as jackets and sweatshirts.  Two years ago, in May 2006, the CPSC’s Office of Compliance announced that children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as defective and considered a substantial risk of injury to young children.  Federal law mandates manufacturers, distributors, and retailers report to CPSC immediately—within 24 hours—“after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion 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 standard.”
In agreeing to settle, the firms deny the allegations they knowingly violated the law; however, the firms did ultimately recall the products as they “pose a strangulation hazard that can cause death to children.”  The firms in violations, along with each recall notice and settlement agreement, in PDF format, appear below:

Manufacturers and retailers have notoriously not complied with the established  voluntary standards regarding drawstrings on children’s clothing.  In just the past year there have been dozens of recalls of hundreds of thousands of units of children’s clothing because of hood or waist drawstring issues.  In recent years there have been reports of dozens of deaths and even more injuries because manufacturers and retailers such as The Gap, Old Navy, Nordstrom’s, Sears, and K-Mart ignored the voluntary CPSC standards.  New York and Wisconsin have made the standard mandatory.

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