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Drawstring Sweatshirts Recalled After Child Strangled

Feb 12, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

The strangulation death of a child has led to a recall of defective hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings made by Hill Sportswear Inc. of California.  The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumer with these deadly sweatshirts to remove their drawstrings immediately since they can become caught on objects and strangle a child.

The recall involves Kid Pullover Hood Sweatshirts  and Kid Zipper with Hood Sweatshirts. The Kid Pullover Hood Sweatshirt has a flat style drawstring at the neck, one middle front pocket, and fleece inside lining. Top sewn in label reads “HILL/ Made in USA.” The hooded Zipper children’s sweatshirt has a rounded style drawstring at the neck, two front pockets, and fleece inside lining. Top sewn in label reads “HILL/ Made in USA”. The recalled sweatshirts were sold at various small retailers in California and Texas from August 1999 through December 2008 for approximately $8.

The CPSC says it has received one report of a death involving a 3-year-old boy in Fresno, Calif. He was strangled when the drawstring on the hooded sweatshirt that he was wearing became stuck on a playground set.

The garments may be returned to  either the place of purchase or to Hill Sportswear for a full refund. Consumers should contact Hill Sportswear toll-free at (877) 322-8760 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday.

In 1996, the CPSC issued drawstring guidelines meant to help prevent children from becoming entangled or strangling on hood and neck drawstrings in upper outerwear.  In May 2006, the CPSC’s Office of Compliance issued an announcement that such outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as both defective and a substantial risk of injury to young children.

Still the guidelines are routinely ignored by the clothing industry, and that attitude has had deadly consequences for some children.  From January 1985 through January 1999, the CPSC received reports of 22 deaths and 48 non-fatal entanglement incidents involving drawstrings on children’s clothing.

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