October 12, 2009

Drawstring recalls and the CPSIA

I wrote this in response to one of Rick Woldenberg's recent entries.

The insanity continues doesn't it! Yes the CPSC is doing it's job, but Congress is not. The only options left to us is a class-action, which I'm not entirely sure is possible, and/or voting people out of office (an equally daunting task!).

I know this may not be on your radar, but drawstrings are causing an equal conundrum to brass connectors. Originally the drawstring ban (1996) was a "voluntary" ban on drawstrings in children's upper outerwear, primarily in hooded sweatshirts and jackets. While the wording has not really changed in the regulation, the voluntary ban is now mandatory and has expanded to include drawstrings and ties on any piece of clothing with a neck or waist. Of course the drawstring has some relevance as a sensible rule because there has been at least one death related to clothing with a drawstring and multiple deaths/injuries to window blind cords.

But here is where the confusion comes in because of the liability climate of CPSIA. Designers are asking me if it is permissible to add drawstrings or ties to skirt hems (not expressly forbidden). What about bib ties or baby bonnets with ties? All are potential sources of strangulation when taken to the extreme safety of the plastic bubble environment. One has to study the escalating drawstring recalls to infer that further rules will be forthcoming. One also becomes confused at what form these rules might take. With the fear of lawsuits, recalls, and penalties, children's clothing designers are trying to avoid these possibilities and are fearful.

Opponents of safety laws and regulations claim there are other ways to design clothing. And yet, the substitutes offer little consolation of their own safety. And so the wheels of confusion continue.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Then there are those of us who do historical reenactments and the most period appropriate closeure sometimes is a drawtring. (Regency is a great example of this.) Where do we fit into this if we make our clothes to sell.