Jackets Sold at TJ Maxx Recalled for Drawstring HazardMay 16, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Maran Inc., of North Bergen, New Jersey, announced a voluntary recall of about 6,000 Squeeze Kids Girl’s Corduroy Jackets due to a strangulation hazard.
Maran’s Squeeze Kids Girl’s Corduroy Jackets were manufactured in China and sold exclusively at TJ Maxx retail stores nationwide during January 2007. The jackets retailed for about $13. The Squeeze Kids Girl’s Corduroy Jackets have a drawstring that runs through the hood, which poses a strangulation hazard to children. The recalled jackets are made of brown corduroy with a pink hood and pink sequins on the front pockets. The words “Squeeze Kids” and style number 4JZ642FK are printed on the care label sewn into the back collar area. Recalled sweatshirts were sold in girls’ sizes small (7/8), medium (10), large (12/14) and x-large (16).
Consumers are advised to immediately remove the drawstrings from the sweatshirts to eliminate the hazard or to return the garments to the place where purchased or to Maran Inc. for a refund. Maran Inc. can be contacted toll-free at (866) 431-5698 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or at its Website at www.Sqz.com
Meanwhile, several firms that sold children’s clothing with drawstrings that posed a strangulation hazard have agreed to pay a total of $320,000 in fines. These firms failed to report to the CPSC—as required by federal law—that their children’s hooded sweatshirts or jackets were sold with drawstrings at the hood and neck. Since April 1, 2007, there have been 17 recalls of over 190,000 units of children’s clothing because of drawstrings in the hood or neck. This, despite the existence of an 11-year old voluntary industry standard that instructs manufacturers not to use drawstrings in the neck area of children’s outerwear and to ensure drawstrings at the waist are of a certain length, have no toggles or knots, and are sewn in the back so they can’t move. The CPSC has similar guidelines on the books and both New York and Wisconsin have made the standard mandatory.
Still, the guidelines are routinely ignored by the clothing industry and that attitude has had deadly consequences. 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.
The CPSC can take action if it sees voluntary standards being flouted, which includes levying fines, which it did in the case of eight firms--Life is Good Inc., True Religion Apparel Inc., The Cayre Group Ltd., DollarDays International, LLC, Kohl’s Department Stores Inc., Seena International Inc., Gildan Activewear SRL, and Neiman Marcus Group Inc—that did not report hazardous drawstring clothing to the agency. Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers report dangerous products to the CPSC within 24 hours after learning 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 standards.
Most recently, in April, Brents-Riordan Inc. LLC, of Shreveport, Louisiana, recalled 7,400 hooded youth sweatshirts and jackets due to similar strangulation hazards.