The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said today that Forman Mills Inc. agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty to resolve charges that it knowingly failed to immediately report to the CPSC that it sold or held for sale about 2,100 pieces of children’s outerwear with drawstrings from June 2007 to February 2010.

In February 1996, CPSC issued guidelines to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled on hood, neck and waist drawstrings in upper garments, such as sweatshirts and jackets. In May 2006, the commission posted a letter on its Web site stating that it considered children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck to be defective and present a substantial risk of injury to young children.

The four series of garments included in the civil penalty were recalled on Jan. 6, 2009; Feb. 18, 2010; April 8, 2010, and May 27, 2010. In April 2009, the CPSC issued an order in which the Pennsauken, N.J.-based Forman Mills agreed to pay a civil penalty of $35,000 to settle charges that the firm failed to report children’s upper outerwear products with drawstrings that it had distributed. Forman Mills distributed some garments in the current civil penalty matter during the same period as CPSC’s investigation and negotiation of the April 2009 civil penalty. There have been no reported injuries associated with the recalled garments.

Forman Mills has also agreed to implement and maintain a program designed to ensure compliance with the statutes and regulations enforced by the commission. The company additionally said it would maintain and enforce a system of internal controls and procedures intended to ensure that information required to be disclosed to the CPSC is recorded, processed and reported in accordance with applicable law and that all reporting is timely, truthful, complete and accurate. The firm will also take steps to ensure that prompt disclosure is made to Forman Mills’ management of any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the design or operation of such internal controls.

The agreement does not constitute an admission by Forman Mills that it knowingly violated the law.

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