WASHINGTON --- A federal consumer agency announced fines against four companies Tuesday for selling hooded sweatshirts or jackets with drawstrings at the neck, posing a safety hazard.
Children's sweatshirts or jackets with drawstrings create a strangulation hazard that can result in serious injury or death, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The commission identified the companies as:
- Kohl's Department Stores Inc. of Menomonee Falls, Wis., which has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $425,000. In 2008, Kohl's paid a $35,000 civil penalty for not reporting drawstrings in children's sweatshirts.
- Maran Inc. of North Bergen, N.J. and K.S. Trading Corp. of Moonachie, N.J., which agreed to pay a total of $85,000 in civil penalties.
- Hill Sportswear Inc. of Paramount, Calif., which agreed to pay a civil penalty of $100,000.
About 120,000 Hill Sportswear sweatshirts with drawstring were sold at various small retailers in California and Texas from 2003 through December 2008 for about $8 apiece.
Parents are urged to immediately remove the drawstrings or return the garments to the place of purchase or to Hill Sportswear for a full refund.
In November 2008, a 3-year-old Fresno, Calif., boy's death was blamed on the drawstring on his Hill Sportswear hooded sweatshirt, which got stuck on a playground set, strangling him. Hill Sportswear and the safety commission announced a recall of the sweatshirts in February.
In agreeing to the settlement, the companies deny allegations that they knowingly violated the law.
Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to the agency within 24 hours that a product contains a defect that causes a safety hazard or doesn't comply with consumer product safety rules.
In May 2006, the federal commission announced that children's sweatshirts or jackets with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as defective and presenting a substantial risk of injury to young children.