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Nine Firms Agree To Pay More Than $350,000 in Civil Penalties For Failing To Timely Report Drawstrings In Children’s Outerwear

Release Date: August 06, 2008

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that nine firms have agreed to pay a total of $355,000 in civil penalties. The penalties settle 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 drawstrings at the hood and neck. These products, which the firms eventually recalled, pose a strangulation hazard that can cause death to children. The settlements have been provisionally accepted.

The firms paying the penalties are:

- AJ Blue LLC, of New York City, N.Y.: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf)

- A&R Knitwear Inc., of New York City, N.Y.: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf)

- Cobmex Inc., of Lakewood, Calif.: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf) 

- Liberty Apparel Co. Inc., of New York City, N.Y.: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf)

- Rebelette International Trading Corp., of South El Monte, Calif.: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf)

- Scope Imports Inc., of Houston, Texas: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf) 

- Sears Holdings Management Corp., of Hoffman Estates, Ill.: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf)

- Siegfried & Parzival Inc., of City of Industry, Calif.: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf)

- Vacation Clothing Exchange Inc., d/b/a Basix USA, of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.: Recall | Settlement Agreement (pdf)

In February 1996, CPSC issued drawstring guidelines (pdf) to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled on the neck and waist drawstrings in upper outerwear, such as jackets and sweatshirts. In May 2006, CPSC’s Office of Compliance announced (pdf) that children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as defective and a substantial risk of injury to young children.

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 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 matters, the firms deny CPSC's allegations that they knowingly violated the law.

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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