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Despite Guidelines and Fines, Drawstring Clothing Still Endangers Kids

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The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has levied $320,000 in fines against eight farms for failing to report that children’s clothing they sold had dangerous drawstrings. 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. The eight companies that have agreed to the fine are:

  • Life is Good Inc.
  • True Religion Apparel Inc.
  • The Cayre Group Ltd.
  • DollarDays International, LLC
  • Kohl’s Department Stores Inc.
  • Seena International Inc.
  • Neiman Marcus Group Inc
  • Gildan Activewear SRL

Despite the fine, the CPSC said that none of the eight firms have admitted any wrongdoing.

Dangerous drawstring clothing continues to endanger children despite 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. Yet 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. Obviously, 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

It is doubtful that such a small fine split among eight companies will inspire many firms to follow drawstring guidelines. To keep children safe, parents and caregivers need to take steps to keep this type of clothing away from kids. The CPSC recommends that consumers remove any drawstrings in the hood or neck area of your children’s jackets, sweaters and sweatshirts. Consumers who spot clothing they think may be a hazard should be sure to notify the retailer and the CPSC.

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