GTM recalls jackets to meet product design guidelines

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GTM Sportswear has recalled about 21,000 childrens’ jackets because of drawstrings.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has guidelines to protect children from strangling themselves on jacket or sweatshirt drawstrings and getting tangled up, stuck or caught on something by pant drawstrings. These guidelines can be found at cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/208.pdf where drawings of drawstrings in death and injuries are displayed.

Although GTM Sportswear Inc. was the starting point, these hooded nylon jackets in all sizes, colors and styles were sold and shipped nationwide at GTM Sportswear, K-State Super Store, Cats Closet stores in Kansas, the GTM Sportswear Web site, Kstategear.com, Just for Kix catalogs and its Web site Justforkix.com. So far, no incidents were reported, but any can be reported at cpsc.org/cgibin/incident.aspx.

Carrie Rich, promotions coordinator of GTM Sportswear, said they found out about the problem in May of 2009.

“We received notification from a supplier,” Rich said. “We immediately redesigned the jackets.”

The jackets feature the same design, but lack a drawstring in the hood. It took from then until now to redesign, go through the CPSC and announce the recall to the public.

Rich said consumers have a number of choices. They can pull the drawstrings all the way out of the jacket or contact GTM Sportswear for a full refund at (800) 437-9560 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. or visit the firm’s Web site at Gtmsportswear.com.

Rich said they received about 86 calls last week regarding the recall, but the firm will have to wait until everyone who wants a refund for the jacket has contacted them, and then they can calculate the effects made on their budget and other factors.

“We were not aware of the CPSC guidelines that children 12 and under should not have drawstrings on jackets or pants or anything like that,” Rich said. “Other companies do, but they are not supposed to.”

A mother, Señora Laura Kanost, visiting assistant professor of Spanish, said having the cutoff be at age twelve seems a bit extreme, but understands the limitation and guidelines.

“I think my older daughter, who is almost 4 years old, is still too young to be wearing drawstrings unsupervised,” she said. “Occasionally, she will try to wrap a string of some kind around her neck and I have yet to convince her that this can be dangerous.”

Susan Howard, alumna of K-State, suggested 9 as a good age to incorporate drawstrings to children.

“Children around that age vary so much in athleticism, size, maturity; it’s a tough call,” she said. “But, I do think for the majority, by age 9, kids are safe to wear sweats with drawstrings.”

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