Burlington Coat Factory Agrees to $1.5 Million Civil Penalty for Failure to Report Drawstrings in Children's Outerwear and for Selling Recalled Outerwear

Jul 26, 2012, 10:00 ET from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., of Burlington, N.J., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1,500,000. The settlement agreement has been provisionally accepted by the Commission (4-0). 

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The settlement resolves CPSC staff allegations that from 2003 to 2010, Burlington knowingly failed to report immediately to CPSC, as required by federal law, that it had sold many different children's sweatshirts and jackets with drawstrings at the neck.  Children's upper outerwear with drawstrings, including sweatshirts, sweaters, and jackets, poses strangulation and entanglement hazards to children that can result in serious injury or death. The settlement also resolves CPSC staff allegations that from 2008 to 2012, contrary to federal law, Burlington knowingly sold or had in its store inventories many of these garments after they had been recalled. 

The penalty is the highest that CPSC has ever assessed for violations involving children's upper outerwear with drawstrings.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC.  Federal law also bars selling products that have been recalled by a manufacturer. 

CPSC began warning about drawstring dangers in the early 1990s. The agency issued guidelines in 1996 about drawstrings in children's upper outerwear. Those guidelines were incorporated into an industry voluntary standard in 1997. In 2006, CPSC's Office of Compliance announced that children's upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as defective and presenting a substantial risk of injury to young children. Then, in July 2011, based on the guidelines and voluntary standard, CPSC issued a federal regulation that designated as substantial product hazards children's upper outerwear in sizes 2T to 12 (or extra-small to large) with neck or hood drawstrings, and children's upper outerwear in sizes 2T to 16 (or extra-small to extra-large) with certain waist or bottom drawstrings.

The sweatshirts and jackets that are the subject of the penalty were sold by Burlington Coat Factory stores throughout the country. Beginning in 2007, CPSC and the garments' manufacturers and distributors, as well as Burlington in 2010, announced the recalls listed in the chart below of children's garments with drawstrings covered by the penalty. In agreeing to the settlement, Burlington denies CPSC staff allegations that it knowingly violated the law.


Manufacturer/Importer/Distributor/Retailer (link to recall)


Number of Units (Approximate)

5 Star Apparel

Mecca children's hooded jackets with drawstrings


Allura Imports

Girls' hooded sweatshirts



Hooded sweatshirts


Bobens Trading

Girls' hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings


Brand Evolution

Locks All Over boys' hoody, All Over Skaters boys' hoody and Rock Mask boys' hoody


Bubblegum USA

Girls' hooded jackets with drawstrings


Burlington Coat Factory

12 brands of hooded jackets and sweatshirts


Byer California

Girls' cargo pocket jackets


Fashion Options

Boys' velour warm-up sets



Children's hooded jackets


Haselson International Trading

Children's hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings


Hind Fashions

Boys' hooded jackets


Jason Evans

Boys' fleece & flannel zip hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings


Jason Evans

Children's hooded jackets


KOMAN Sportswear

Boys' hooded sweatshirts and warm-up sets


Liberty Apparel

Jewel brand girls' hooded sweatshirts


Liberty Apparel

Jewel girls' hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings



Rim Rocka boys' hooded jackets and Pelle Pelle girls' hooded jackets



North-Sportif hooded jackets and reversible vests

360 jackets and 360 vests


Girls' hooded jackets with drawstrings


S. Rothschild & Co.

Girls' coats


Ten West Apparel

Boys' hooded jackets


Trendset Originals

Girls' hooded jackets

2,400 of Marci & Me brand, unknown number of Shampoo brand

Weeplay Kids

Hooded sweatshirts with drawstrings


Photos available at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12235.html

CPSC Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission