Release date: July 18, 1988
Release number: 88-054

Release Details

In a case filed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a federal district court has entered a consent decree to halt the improper sale of lawn darts by Menard, Inc., a Wisconsin-based chain of stores in the Midwest.

The CPSC sued Menard in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wisconsin, alleging that the defendant's stores were illegally selling lawn darts without required warning labels and in proximity to toys. Federal regulations prohibit sales in or near toy departments because of the danger that lawn darts pose to children.

An estimated 670 injuries a year from lawn darts, an outdoor game of skill for adults, are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms and three fourths of the victims are under 15. Three children -- ages 4, 7, and 13 -- are known to have died in lawn dart related incidents. In the consent decree, Menard has agreed to provide CPSC with a sample of lawn darts from every shipment it proposes to sell. The firm has also agreed to post signs warning store employees that lawn darts are not children's toys and must not be sold with children's toys.

In a separate case, the CPSC recently obtained a consent decree in which Sears Roebuck and Co. agreed to halt the marketing and sale of lawn darts altogether. In addition, the CPSC has begun a rulemaking proceeding that could result in a total ban of lawn darts with sharp metal pointed tips that pose puncture wound risks. Everyone interested in this proceeding will be given the opportunity to comment on the CPSC's proposed actions, once they are published in the Federal Register this summer.

A nationwide survey of lawn dart retailers is currently underway; so more court actions are possible. CPSC General Counsel James V. Lacy stated that "CPSC will initiate additional new lawsuits if necessary to enforce our regulations."

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