Retailers will soon be in violation of a new consumer product safety rule if they are found to be selling children’s upper outerwear containing drawstrings. On July 1, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) voted to approve a new consumer product safety rule listing children’s upper outerwear containing drawstrings to be a substantial product hazard pursuant to Section 15(j) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (“CPSA”). The new rule will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Specifically, the rule applies to all children’s upper outwear with drawstrings at the neck or hood for sizes 2T – 12 and drawstrings at the waist or bottom for sizes 2T – 16. The rule adopts ASTM F1816-97 which has been the voluntary industry standard for over a decade. In spite of the voluntary standard and published guidance by the CPSC, the CPSC has continued to issue recall after recall and impose fine after fine to both manufacturers and retailers selling children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings.

It is important for retailers to know that selling or distributing children’s upper outwear that does not comply with the new mandatory rule as well as failure to timely report the sale or distribution of these products to the CPSC are violations of the Consumer Product Safety Act and can result in civil or criminal penalties. Note that because this new rule was promulgated under Section 15(j), products subject to this rule are not subject to the testing and certification requirements of Section 14(a) of the CPSA.