CPSC Enacts New Regulations On Children’s Apparel
July 12, 2011
Consumer Product Safety Commission has fielded 26 reports of children who have
died when the drawstring on their jacket or sweatshirt became entangled on
playground slides, school bus doors and other objects. Waist and bottom
drawstrings have also been caught in car doors, resulting in children being
In the wake of
such reports, the CPSC ruled last week that drawstrings on children's outerwear
are "substantial product hazards." The ruling, approved in a 5-0
vote, empowers U.S. custom and border agents to prevent
shipments of children's outerwear from entering the United States. Additionally, the CPSC has greater
authority to recall children's outerwear that features drawstrings.
The new rule
states the product hazard designation applies to children's upper outerwear in
sizes 2T through 12, with neck or hood strings, and children's lower outerwear
in sizes 2T through 16, with certain waist or bottom strings. In February 1996,
CPSC issued guidelines that were incorporated into an industry voluntary
standard in 1997. Since the industry standard was introduced, fatal incidents
involving garments with drawstrings through the neck or hood have decreased 75%, while fatalities associated with drawstrings through the
waist or bottom have dropped 100%. Still, from 2006 through 2010, the CPSC
engaged in 115 recalls of non-complying products with drawstrings.
Inez M. Tannebaum says: "This rule strengthens CPSC's authority to regulate drawstrings, and empowers our
import staff and federal partners at Customs and Border Protection to quickly
halt shipments of potentially hazardous children's outerwear at the ports of
entry. The conversion of these longstanding voluntary guidelines into a
mandatory standard could not have come soon enough. It is time for the garment
industry to achieve complete compliance with this simple requirement designed
to keep our nation's children safe in homes, on playgrounds and at the bus
Counselor, Hit executives declined to comment on the lawsuit or the letter.
Officials with Tervis would not discuss pending
matters of litigation. Dwight Lueck, an attorney
representing Williams Industries, would not talk about the case without
authorization from his client.