Banned Clown Dolls Seized By Feds; Choking Hazard Cited

July 11, 1989
Release Number: 89066

Agents of the federal government seized approximately 53,000 banned hazardous toy clown dolls late Friday afternoon, July 7, 1989 in a New York City warehouse because they contain small parts that present a choking risk to children.

The clown dolls, usually marketed as the "Dress Me Clown," were sold nationwide by mail order retailers for about $5.00 to $6.00 each. Clothed primarily in red, blue and yellow, this doll has yellow string hair, a clown's cap and is about 13 inches long. It also has a snap, a button, a zipper, a buckle and shoe laces intended to introduce young children to various dressing functions. It may be identified by a cloth tag sewn onto the doll's cap that says: "ITEM # 6159."

When the Commission tested the clown dolls in accordance with the regulations under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, zipper clasps, buttons and buckles came off the dolls. The Commission alleges that these small parts make the dolls banned hazardous substances because they present a choking, ingestion and aspiration hazard to children.

The dolls were returned to Etna by a retailer, and Etna failed to assure the Commission that the dolls would not be resold. Etna may now contest the Commission's action in Federal Distict Court or attempt to resolve the matter by agreement with the CPSC.