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Kohl’s, Other Firms Settle Allegations Involving Children’s Drawstring Clothing

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Federal official announced today that several firms, including Kohl’s Department Stores, have agreed to pay civil penalties to settle allegations that they failed to report children’s clothing with dangerous drawstrings to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC)  in a timely manner.  All of the firms agreeing to  the settlements  deny the CPSC’s allegations that they knowingly violated the law.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to 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 product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by CPSC.

In February 1996, the CPSC issued guidelines to help prevent children from strangling or becoming entangled on the neck and waist by drawstrings in upper garments, such as jackets and sweatshirts. In 1997, industry adopted a voluntary standard for drawstrings that incorporated the CPSC guidelines.  In May 2006, the CPSC’s Office of Compliance issued an announcement that such outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as both defective and a substantial risk of injury to young children.

According to the CPSC, the following firms have agreed to pay civil penalties:

  • Kohl’s Department Stores Inc., of Menomonee Falls, Wis. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $425,000.   This past March, Kohl’s recalled 40,000 hooded sweatshirts sold under the Seattle Cotton Works brand.  These sweatshirts were  sold at Kohl’s Department Stores from January 2009 through February 2009 for about $17.
  • Maran Inc., of North Bergen, N.J. and K.S. Trading Corp., of Moonachie, N.J., have agreed to pay a total of $85,000 in civil penalties.  In May 2008, Maran recalled about 6,000 Squeeze Kids Girl’s Corduroy Jacket sold at TJ Maxx stores during January 2007.  In August 2008, K.S. Trading recalled 5,740 Raw Blue Hooded Sweatshirts sold at TJ Maxx, Mega Trends, Moonstone Shirts and MP Trading stores nationwide from July 2007 through December 2007.
  • Hill Sportswear Inc., of Paramount, Calif. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $100,000.  This past February, Hill Sportswear recalled approximately 120,000 Kid Pullover Hood and Kid Zipper with Hood hooded sweatshirts. The recalled sweatshirts were sold at various small retailers in California and Texas from 2003 to December 2008 for approximately $8.
Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to 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 product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by CPSC.
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