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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Ross Stores Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $500,000. The penalty settlement, which has been provisionally accepted by the Commission, resolves CPSC staff allegations that Ross knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, that children's hooded sweatshirts it sold had drawstrings at the neck.
Children's upper outerwear with drawstrings, including sweatshirts, pose a strangulation hazard to children which can result in serious injury or death. CPSC and the sweatshirts' importers announced recalls (07-777, 08-121, 08-146, 08-192) of the products.
In February 1996, CPSC issued drawstring guidelines (pdf) to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled in the neck and waist drawstrings in upper outerwear, such as jackets and sweatshirts. In May 2006, CPSC's Office of Compliance announced (pdf) that children's upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as defective and as creating a substantial risk of injury to young children.
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 which 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.
In agreeing to the settlement, Ross Stores denies CPSC's allegations that it knowingly violated the law.