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

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 that could cause personal injuries or death due to product liability.  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.

Source:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12235.html

Manufacturer/Importer/Distributor/Retailer (link to recall) Product Number of Units (Approximate)
5 Star Apparel Mecca children’s hooded jackets with drawstrings 11,500
Allura Imports Girls’ hooded sweatshirts 3,700
Baycreek Hooded sweatshirts 1,900
Bobens Trading Girls’ hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings 3,900
Brand Evolution Locks All Over boys’ hoody, All Over Skaters boys’ hoody and Rock Mask boys’ hoody 2,800
Bubblegum USA Girls’ hooded jackets with drawstrings 900
Burlington Coat Factory 12 brands of hooded jackets and sweatshirts 10,000
Byer California Girls’ cargo pocket jackets 600
Fashion Options Boys’ velour warm-up sets 5,400
Franshaw Children’s hooded jackets 2,400
Haselson International Trading Children’s hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings 23,000
Hind Fashions Boys’ hooded jackets 200
Jason Evans Boys’ fleece & flannel zip hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings 18,300
Jason Evans Children’s hooded jackets 1,300
KOMAN Sportswear Boys’ hooded sweatshirts and warm-up sets 13,300
Liberty Apparel Jewel brand girls’ hooded sweatshirts 12,000
Liberty Apparel Jewel girls’ hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings 2,300
Lollytogs Rim Rocka boys’ hooded jackets and Pelle Pelle girls’ hooded jackets 23,000
North-Sportif North-Sportif hooded jackets and reversible vests 360 jackets and 360 vests
Regaliti Girls’ hooded jackets with drawstrings 3,600
S. Rothschild & Co. Girls’ coats 13,500
Ten West Apparel Boys’ hooded jackets 75
Trendset Originals Girls’ hooded jackets 2,400 of Marci & Me brand, unknown number of Shampoo brand
Weeplay Kids Hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings 11,800

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