Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Feds warn of hazardous hoodies sold at Pike Place Market

by Matt Rosenberg May 12th, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a recently-issued recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, any purchasers of one of an estimated 300 hand-knit, hooded wool sweaters with drawstrings made in Ecuador and sold at the El Gringo Imports stall in the North Arcade of Pike Place Market in Seattle between November 2009 and August 2010 for between $20 and $25, should immediately remove the hood drawstring because it poses a strangulation hazard. The multi-colored sweaters have a front zipper and a black neck tag with the words “El Gringo Imports.” No injuries have been reported. Through a toll-free number, consumers can get instructions on drawstring removal or information on how to receive a full refund.

BACKGROUND: In 1996, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued guidelines to manufacturers and consumers that there should be no hood or neck drawstrings in all children’s upper outerwear such as hooded jackets or sweaters, in sizes 2T to 12, because drawstrings can get caught on playground equipment, bus doors, and cribs – causing strangulation and injury or death. The guidelines noted that 22 deaths and 48 injuries were reported in such mishaps in the U.S. between 1985 and 1999. The guidelines recommended that drawstrings be removed from any children’s upper outerwear in those sizes and that consumers look for products which used snaps, buttons, elastic or Velcro instead of hood or neck drawstrings. In summer of 2010 investigators for the Commission were in Pike Place Market in Seattle and noticed children’s hooded sweaters with drawstrings being sold at the stall operated there by El Gringo Imports, a local business established in 1973 by David Schaible and now operated by his sons Michael and Jody. A recall proceeding followed, leading to the recent issuance of a recall notice and a corrective action plan.

KEY LINK: Girl’s Hooded Sweater Recalled By El Gringo Imports Due To Strangulation Hazard,” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notice, May 3, 2011

KEY FINDINGS:

  • Any consumers who purchased one of an estimated 300 hand-knit, hooded wool sweaters with hood drawstrings at the El Gringo imports stall in the North Arcade of Pike Place Market in Seattle between November 2009 and August 2010 for between $20 and $25, should immediately remove the hood drawstring because it poses a strangulation hazard. The multi-colored sweaters were made in Ecuador, and have a front zipper and a black neck tag with the words “El Gringo Imports.”
  • Consumers can contact El Gringo Imports at a toll-free phone number, 877-278-1434, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Coast Time Monday through Friday, for instructions on how to remove the drawstring or on how to receive a full refund. They can also contact co-owner Michael Schaible by email at michael (at) elgringoimports (dot) com.
  • No accidents or injuries have been reported in connection with the sweaters.
  • El Gringo Imports has filed a corrective action plan with the Commission which includes ensuring the drawstrings are removed prior to their sale of any similar items; posting the recall notice on their Web site; and establishing the toll-free number for consumers to call.

RELATED: Michael Schaible said today he expected that a link to or copy of the recall notice would be posted on the company’s Web site by later today.

One of the recalled sweaters, via Consumer Product Safety Commission

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