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Burlington Coat Factory Agrees to $1.5 Million Civil Penalty for Failure to Report Drawstrings in Children's Outerwear and for Selling Recalled Outerwear

Release Date: July 26, 2012

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., of Burlington, N.J., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1,500,000. The settlement agreement (pdf) has been provisionally accepted by the Commission (4-0).

The settlement resolves CPSC staff allegations that from 2003 to 2010, Burlington knowingly failed to report immediately to CPSC, as required by federal law, that it had sold many different children's sweatshirts and jackets with drawstrings at the neck. Children's upper outerwear with drawstrings, including sweatshirts, sweaters, and jackets, poses strangulation and entanglement hazards to children that can result in serious injury or death. The settlement also resolves CPSC staff allegations that from 2008 to 2012, contrary to federal law, Burlington knowingly sold or had in its store inventories many of these garments after they had been recalled.

The penalty is the highest that CPSC has ever assessed for violations involving children's upper outerwear with drawstrings.

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 that 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. Federal law also bars selling products that have been recalled by a manufacturer.

CPSC began warning about drawstring dangers in the early 1990s. The agency issued guidelines in 1996 about drawstrings in children's upper outerwear. Those guidelines were incorporated into an industry voluntary standard in 1997. In 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 presenting a substantial risk of injury to young children. Then, in July 2011, based on the guidelines and voluntary standard, CPSC issued a federal regulation that designated as substantial product hazards children's upper outerwear in sizes 2T to 12 (or extra-small to large) with neck or hood drawstrings, and children's upper outerwear in sizes 2T to 16 (or extra-small to extra-large) with certain waist or bottom drawstrings.

The sweatshirts and jackets that are the subject of the penalty were sold by Burlington Coat Factory stores throughout the country. Beginning in 2007, CPSC and the garments' manufacturers and distributors, as well as Burlington in 2010, announced the recalls listed in the chart below of children's garments with drawstrings covered by the penalty. In agreeing to the settlement, Burlington denies CPSC staff allegations that it knowingly violated the law.

(link to recall)
ProductNumber of Units (Approximate)
5 Star ApparelMecca children’s hooded jackets with drawstrings11,500
Allura ImportsGirls’ hooded sweatshirts3,700
BaycreekHooded sweatshirts1,900
Bobens TradingGirls’ hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings3,900
Brand EvolutionLocks All Over boys’ hoody, All Over Skaters boys’ hoody and
Rock Mask boys’ hoody
Bubblegum USAGirls’ hooded jackets with drawstrings900
Burlington Coat Factory12 brands of hooded jackets and sweatshirts10,000
Byer CaliforniaGirls’ cargo pocket jackets600
Fashion OptionsBoys’ velour warm-up sets5,400
FranshawChildren’s hooded jackets2,400
Haselson International TradingChildren’s hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings23,000
HindFashion sBoys’ hooded jackets200
Jason EvansBoys’ fleece & flannel zip hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings18,300
Jason EvansChildren’s hooded jackets1,300
KOMAN SportswearBoys’ hooded sweatshirts and warm-up sets13,300
Liberty ApparelJewel brand girls’ hooded sweatshirts12,000
Liberty ApparelJewel girls’ hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings2,300
LollytogsRim Rocka boys' hooded jackets and Pelle Pelle girls' hooded jackets23,000
North-SportifNorth-Sportif hooded jackets and reversible vests360 jackets and 360 vests
RegalitiGirls’ hooded jackets with drawstrings3,600
S. Rothschild & Co.Girls’ coats13,500
Ten West ApparelBoys’ hooded jackets75
Trendset OriginalsGirls’ hooded jackets2,400 of Marci & Me brand,
unknown number of Shampoo brand
Weeplay KidsHooded sweatshirts with drawstrings11,800

Picture of recalled Apple Bottom jacket
Release Number

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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