Sale of Drawstring Sweatshirts Blamed for Child’s Death Result in Stiff Fines

Kohl’s Department Store and other companies have been fined more than $600,000 for continuing to manufacture and sell children’s drawstring sweatshirts, which have been linked to the strangulation death of at least one child while he was going down a slide.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) promulgated a rule in 2006 that determined all children’s shirts, sweaters, coats and jackets with drawstrings at the hood or neck were defective and presented a substantial risk of injury to children.

According to press releases by the CPSC on September 8, several companies continued to make and sell products that violated that rule, leading to a $425,000 fine for Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc., a $100,000 fine for Hill Sportswear, Inc., a total of $85,000 between Maran Inc. and K.S. Trading Corp.

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A sweatshirt with drawstrings made by Hill Sportswear was blamed for the November 2008 strangulation death of a 3-year-old boy in Fresno, California. His drawstring became stuck on a play set on a playground, strangling him. About 120,000 of the Kid Pullover Hood and Kid Zipper with Hood sweatshirts were recalled in February 2009.

The largest fine will be paid by Kohl’s Department Stores Inc., for selling about 40,000 hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings that were recalled in March 2009.

This is the second penalty for Kohl’s since the drawstring ban was enacted. The company was forced to pay $35,000 in civil penalties after a recall of 4,500 Candie’s sweatshirts with drawstrings last year.

In agreeing to the civil penalty settlements, all of the companies deny that they knowingly violated the regulation.


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