Recalled Robes, Cribs, and Hooded Sweatshirts: Top Safety Concerns You Should Know About

By Linsey Knerl on 12 June 2009 4 comments
Photo: CPSC recall

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about recalls.  Sadly, they seem to pop up every day – either an indication of our products getting junkier, or a sign that the government is becoming better aware of safety concerns, in general.  These alerts top my list of “recalls you really should know about.” If Grandma wears a robe, you must read this! 

I always like when a company takes the initiative and puts out a voluntary recall before any accidents occur.  To me, it is a sign that they are being proactive, hoping to avoid lawsuit, and taking responsibility for their own product lines (instead of waiting for the government to tell them what to do.)  Many of these product recalls occurred BEFORE any accidents occurred.  Sadly, however, many of the affected consumer groups aren’t the type to read emails or check the CPSC website for updates.  Do you know anyone who would be affected by these recalls? 

Blair Chenille Robes – There have been six reported deaths of consumers by catching on fire while wearing these $20-40 robes.  The reports indicate that five of them were women, all of them were cooking at the time, and a few were in their 80’s.  This just makes me sad, as many of the customers who order from Blair do so over the phone or through catalog orders.  (They are not likely to be reading emails or checking Snopes to see if reports are real.)  Internet-savvy customers can to to for the full details of the recall, or they can call (877) 392-7095 to file a claim and get their $50 Blair gift card. 

LaJobi Drop Side Cribs – Two separate recalls have been issued for models of this crib, sold at retailers like USA Baby, Buy Buy Baby, and Beautiful Beginnings.  Retailing at between $299 and $450, you would expect (and hope) that the slats on the side of the crib would NOT break or fall out.  Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there have been over 40 reports of slat or side failure, and one case of a baby falling out of the crib and getting bruised.  Read the details of the recalls at LaJobi’s website, and share this info with people you know.  (Check out past crib and bassinet recalls at CPSC’s website – just do a search for “crib” or “bassinet.”) 

Children’s Hooded Sweatshirts – I can’t even count the number of hooded sweatshirt recalls I’ve seen in the last year.  The brands include Red Envelope, Ocean Pacific, Karl Kani, and Gildan Activewear and include everything in between.  Unfortunately, recalls date back to before 2007 and warn of strangulation hazards from the drawstrings in the hoods of the sweatshirts.   Despite industry standards, there are new recalls every month, and even more companies settling lawsuits as a result of injury or death. Even if you were aware of every recall and avoided purchasing new garments under these brands, many parents buy gently used clothing from garage sales and consignment outlets – making it difficult to stay on top of the news.  I would suggest reading up on many of the recalls, but to be absolutely certain you are not affected – avoid buying kids’ clothing with drawstrings.  Period. 

Baby/Toddler Play yards (playpens) – I can’t imagine living without my Graco Pack N’ Play.  I also cannot imagine living without any of my four children.  When this press release went out in 2001, parents cringed at the thought that a play yard could be responsible for 4 infant deaths and several injuries.  Recalls dating back to 1993 revealed weaknesses in various brands’ models, including Kolcraft, Century, and EvenFlo.  Just when we thought play pens were getting safer, a new round of recalls got parents worrying again.  Brands involved in this recent rash of recalls include Eddie Bauer and Fisher-Price/Simplicity.  Parents are encouraged to follow recall alerts from CPSC’s website and subscribe to updates via email.  (This recent article involving the safety of motel/hotel cribs and playpens is also very informative reading!) 

I recently reported a defect in a new toy my son was playing with.  Even when used properly, his little finger kept getting pinched in a moving part and it caused him to lose part of his fingernail.  We took the toy away, and I contacted the company – with no results.  (I couldn’t believe that this wasn’t also happening to other kids.)  Unfortunately, if there are only one or two reports of failure or injury, it may not be enough to prompt a recall.  I encourage everyone to be vigilant in reporting product defects to both the manufacturer and the CPSC – especially if it is something you feel other consumers could benefit from knowing about. 

What recalls are most alarming to you?  Do you follow them carefully, or do you think recalls are mostly hype?  We’d love to hear your feedback! 

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Guest's picture

I understand flaws in products, it does happen, but common, a 400 dollar baby item having a design flaw? That is just sloppy and how much do you want to bet it has to do with poor quality control. Maximize short term profit and destroy your base with a shoddy product.

Guest's picture

Aside from medications, food. Way too many food recalls! Why isn't our food safer? Or like you said, are we becoming more vigilant in finding it? Everytime we have a food recall it seems people panic and end in the Urgent Care I work at over nothing! Oh well, job security!

Guest's picture

I am a little confused by two of these recalls. The cribs and playards are a genuine concern, and having children, I definitely worry about such things.

But, a robe catching fire? Was it supposed to be flame retardant for something? I try to keep my clothing away from flames at all time because clothes CAN CATCH ON FIRE. I have yet to see anything about this that explains why there is a recall because someone's clothes caught on fire.

And, drawstrings on a sweatshirt? Once again, if I thought my kid could strangle from them, I wouldn't buy them, but what makes them worse than other drawstrings? The two clothing recalls smack of lawsuit worries, not genuine safety issues.

Linsey Knerl's picture

I totally understand why the clothing recalls would be confusing.  Apperently, they don't meet guidlines.  The original robe recall (put out before the 6 deaths) mentions that the robes don't meet federal flammability requirements.  Maybe the material is so flammable that someone wouldn't stand a chance in taking it off or doing the "stop drop and roll" if it did get a flame near it?

Drawstrings have been a concern for some time.  I agree that I wouldn't put my child in something with drawstrings, but since this also happens to be a federal requirement, the companies have to put out a recall if they are found not in compliance.

Interesting how this all works.  Thanks for the comments!

Linsey Knerl