Forman Mills Doesn’t Report Strangulation Risk in Children’s Product, Gets $600,000 Penalty

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission imposed a $600,000 civil penalty against the manufacturer of children’s clothing in Forman Mills, N. J. The company failed to report drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear, such as coats.

Manufacturers must report defects in their products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission as soon as they are alerted to the problem. With children’s products, unfortunately, many often are released to the public before a hazard is noticed, such as with the books Count My Kisses 1, 2, 3 and Red, Green, Blue, I Love You which contained beads that could detach and choke a child.

More than a decade ago, the CPSC issued guidelines mandating that manufacturers stop using drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear. This includes items such as hoodies and jackets. Children are at risk of strangulation from neck, waist and hood drawstrings. In May 2006, CPSC posted a letter to manufacturers that drawstrings in the neck or hood area are defective. And that any garments with them are subject to recall.

Yet Forman Mills failed to report that 2,100 of their children’s upper outerwear contained them. The company sold four series of these garments between June 2007 and Feb 2010. Recalls on them started in 2009 and continued through 2010.

The manufacturer agreed to pay a $35,000 civil penalty in April 2009 for failing to report the drawstrings. But during the investigation by CPSC, Forman Mills distributed some of those garments.

The company has agreed to take other measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The good news is that no reports of injury or death occurred as a result.

When a Defective Children’s Product Causes Serious or Fatal Injuries 

Once aware of a design or manufacturing defect, CPSC should receive notice within 24 hours. This applies not only to manufacturers, but also retailers and distributors. Civil penalties aren’t the only consequence. A claim may be filed if a child sustains serious or fatal injuries.

To learn if there is a viable claim, contact an attorney. These types of cases are complicated and require adequate evidence, not only to prove a defect, but also to show it directly caused injury or death. The law firm of Gacovino, Lake & Associates prints a monthly newsletter that keeps our readers notified of recalled items for adults and children. Sign up here.

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