Would You Issue a Recall of this Sweatshirt?

 

From the Consumer Product Safety Commission daily update (boldface mine):

Recall Date: March 11, 2015

Kid’s Korner Children’s Zipper Hooded Sweatshirts Recalled by Kroger Due to Choking Hazard

Hazard: The sweatshirt zipper pull can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.  

Remedy: Refund

Consumers should immediately take the sweatshirt away from young children and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers without a sales receipt will be refunded current retail price.

Recall Details

Units: About 140,000

Description: This recall involves Kids Korner brand boy’s, girl’s and toddler’s cotton/poly blend fleece zipper hooded sweatshirts with a front zipper, two front pockets and knit ribbing around the wrists and waist. The sweatshirts were sold in 62 different prints and solid colors in infant, toddler to children’s size 4.

Incidents/Injuries: Kroger has received one report of a zipper pull detaching from the sweatshirt. No injuries have been reported.

Sold at: Dillons, Fred Meyer, King Soopers Marketplace, Kroger, Smith’s and Fry’s Marketplace and other stores nationwide from June 2014 through February 2015 for between $8 and $10.

Okay, folks: Weigh in. Ponder the idea that there is no price is ever too great to save a child from a looming menace like the 1 in 140,000 chance a zipper pull might detach. 

Scarrrrry!

Scarrrrry!

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49 Responses to Would You Issue a Recall of this Sweatshirt?

  1. hineata March 12, 2015 at 4:08 am #

    Whaaat? ! No. No. No.

    Head explodes.

  2. hineata March 12, 2015 at 4:11 am #

    And what are you doing up at this hour, Lenore? All you North Americans should be in bed by now, surely? There is such a thing as being overzealous, you know!😊😊

  3. Michelle March 12, 2015 at 5:25 am #

    Hineata, it’s morning on the East Coast where Lenore lives. (It’s 4 am where I am in Texas, but I’m up with a feverish baby.)

  4. BL March 12, 2015 at 5:48 am #

    “From the Consumer Product Safety Commission”

    They’re from the government and they’re here to help.

  5. SOA March 12, 2015 at 6:54 am #

    I don’t mind recalls like this because you are always welcome to ignore it and go about your business, but if you want to return it you can. Kids can choke on something like that so yeah I don’t want that coming off if it is a jacket for a child that is under 3 and might stick it in their mouth. I can’t watch them every second so I need to trust they are not going to have anything they can choke on in their grasp.

  6. MichaelF March 12, 2015 at 7:28 am #

    I’ve had these pop up at CostCo before, usually I ignore it. My son when 3 lived with everything going into his mouth at one time or another. I swear he tasted the world, or his corner of it. Though he never choked on anything. Most of these recalls are CYA on the part of the company for the few overzealous parents and lawyers who might want to sue.

  7. Tony Shreck March 12, 2015 at 8:03 am #

    Short answer: No.

    Slightly longer answer: No, but I’m not a corporate attorney trying to ensure my company did due diligence to cover themselves in the event of a lawsuit.

    This is a great example of why I can’t understand why anybody takes the business risk of selling anything for children, ever.

  8. ARM March 12, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    I grew up in a family of eight, so I don’t get the terror that kids will choke on any small object not padlocked in place: getting rid of tiny objects is pretty much impossible when you have older siblings around. The only time one of us ever came close to choking on a toy was when my 8-year-old brother wrestled with a family friend while holding a tiny piece of Playmobil in his mouth (go figure!). Luckily my older sister was a trained lifeguard and promptly walloped him on the back (this was pre-Heimlich era), sending the toy flying across the room. Anyway, the point is, as toddlers we had too much sense to do something so dumb. Maybe all zippers should be eliminated, on clothing for all ages!

  9. Jill March 12, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    Not only should they be recalled, but whoever desined the Evil Deathtrap Sweatshit should be jailed for life.

  10. BL March 12, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    @ARM
    “Maybe all zippers should be eliminated, on clothing for all ages!”

    That’s what the Amish do.

  11. E March 12, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    Dunno — isn’t a recall optional for those with the item. Is this a FR issue?

    I had an experience with a choking issue with my baby and a toy product designed for kids that age. I called the company (who replaced it with a different item) and it’s the only time I called the CPSC. It was a scary situation that I wouldn’t want to repeat.

    Can’t get worked up on this one I guess.

  12. Emily March 12, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    Yes, not as much from the safety standpoint but from the they bought my product and I should stand behind it standpoint.

  13. Playa Manhattan, Esq. March 12, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    The headline at Reason.com, where this story is featured, reads: “Government Saves 140,000 Children From…One Faulty Zipper”

    It’s a voluntary recall from Kroger, not a government-mandated recall. As such, it’s a private business decision. The mocking is misplaced if not imbecilic, and the headline at Reason is deceptive, if not an outright lie.

  14. Reziac March 12, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Kids could pick up a pebble of like size and choke on it, too. Should we recall gravel??

  15. ChicagoDad March 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    Well, Kroger’s stock is up 3% since the announcement, and the recall barely gets a mention on the financial news pages. It doesn’t sound like the shareholders are unhappy about the recall.

    This is pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if there is some upside for kroger; maybe they get to look safety-conscious. Plus they get to draw some of their customs back into stores who will each get $8 to $10 that they will probably spend in the store that day anyway.

    Besides, isn’t the only safe jacket for kids a straight jacket? O_o

  16. fred schueler March 12, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    crucifixion for the designers of defective zippers!

  17. lollipoplover March 12, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    We recently replaced our high efficiency clothes dryer that we nicknamed “Jaws” because it frequently ripped off zipper pulls and other important clothing parts.
    Who knew Jaws was just making us SAFER???

    And my son replaced the zipper pulls on his hoodies with zip ties. It’s quite the look…

  18. BL March 12, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    @fred schueler

    “crucifixion for the designers of defective zippers!”

    Nah, put ’em on the sex offenders list.

    Why, you ask? What’s the matter, don’t you want to protect children?

  19. John March 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    ANYTIME a child is hurt, you’d better believe there are some personal injury attorneys out there with dollar signs in their eyes. I guess Kroger figured that recalling 140,000 hooded sweatshirts would be much cheaper than the 1/140,000 chance, or more like a 1/1,000,000,000 chance, of a child choking to death as a result of a detached zipper pull. A hurt child = some adult somewhere who is at fault. It’s ALWAYS the adult’s fault. That’s the mindset of American culture which always seems to spill over into the courtroom.

  20. Andy March 12, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    “Kroger has received one report of a zipper pull detaching from the sweatshirt. No injuries have been reported.”

    What planet am I on?

  21. BL March 12, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    “A hurt child = some adult somewhere who is at fault”

    Or even a hurt adult.

    A local attorney who specializes in injury cases has big billboards around town saying, plainly: “INJURED? SOMEONE SHOULD PAY!”

  22. Patrick Peterson March 12, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    Lenore – I love your posts. Uncommon, common sense, waking people up to their pc and too often self-imposed straight-jackets of foolishness. My hope is that you are awaking people to an inner strength to “get-real.”

  23. E March 12, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    @playa — good points. Kroger is willing to refund money on a crappy product aimed at children under 4 and specifically mentions toddlers. I have no idea how big the part of the zipper is that comes off so maybe it’s not so crazy. So they are offering to recall/refund.

    Big deal.

  24. Jen March 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    Can I get a refund (or replacement in a larger size) for the pants where the zipper popped off after I finally got into them? 🙂

  25. Dean Whinery March 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    Better not let them walk either. Might stub a toe. (Sarcasm off,)

  26. Tony March 12, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    My granddaughter gagged on a grape a few weeks ago. Let’s recall grapes.

  27. Liz March 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    While I do think it’s insane (just like the recall for my son’s stroller because “9 kids in the last 20 years have gotten fingers stuck in the joint and lost fingers” -less than one a year, though yes it’s horrible), I think it comes not from panicking parents but from panicking lawyers. With our country so quick to sue (anyone else watch People’s Court? When will people learn you can’t sue for “pain and suffering” on contract cases?), can you blame a company for being so terrified of losing millions in a wrongful death case that they’d rather recall all of these non-threatening shirts?

  28. Havva March 12, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    For those asking why it matters it’s voluntary.. look at the boiler plate text at the bottom of all these recalls:

    “Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.”

    I would support that whole heartedly if these recalls were restricted to the mission statement of “protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death.” I think they were doing that when my car got recalled for break light failures. Or those recalls of airbags that throw shrapnel.

    I’m not convinced they were doing that when my daughter’s shoes got recalled because the stitching all around the edge of a deco, could come undone, and then glue under it might not hold against a kid peeling at it, and then the smallish deco could fall off, and then she could put it in her mouth, and then she could choke on it. Stitching can come undone on anything. That is why parents get warned to check that all the little bits on outfits are firmly attached before dressing the kid. My daughter’s feet grew pretty slow, and she out grew them and still not a stitch out of place on that deco.

    But these recalls over the remotest risk of wear and tear failures does give the CPSC an excuse to harass EBay and Craigslist, and make it harder for people to purchase kids products second hand. It also allows safety types to ring their hands over how 95% of recalled products remain in consumer hands 5 years after recall. And convince new parents that they are horrible and irresponsible to buy anything second hand.

    I have a relative who is not too well off. When the first child came they needed WIC. But his wife, trying to do right by her kids, insists on all new products for the children. Meanwhile they have been through a series of vehicles with a slew of problems. Which is more dangerous to the children? Hand me down shoes where the stitching hasn’t come undone, but theoretically could? Or the risk of an unreliable car having mechanical failure on the freeway?

  29. Mark West March 12, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    One word…………….NO!!!!!!!!!

  30. Bmj2k March 12, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    Just lawyers doing what lawyers do, protecting against that 1 in 140,000 chance of a lawsuit. And making parents afraid.

  31. Margot March 12, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    This reminds me of a case in Sydney some years ago. A little girl of about 4 choked on a piece of gravel or a gumnut or something in the grounds of her day care centre and died. Predictably there were a few rumblings about measures to ensure that the outdoor playgrounds of day care centres were swept within an inch of their lives every day, but as I recall, common sense prevailed. People talked about what a horrific freak accident it was, there was collective grief for the poor parents (I still remember the child’s name from the newspapers), and everyone offered their souls to the universe out of sheer gratitude that it wasn’t their child. Life went on.

  32. Eric S March 12, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    As a company, and knowing that this has become a litigious society. To cover my own arse, I would make the recall. One report, with no injuries doesn’t sound like a major threat, and it’s obviously a rare thing. But what isn’t rare, are people looking to sue at the best opportunity. The company would end up dishing out much more than a refund of all 140000 units. At a business point of view, I would cut my losses to prevent further losses.

    But as a sane, logical, common sense person, I would think it ludicrous to think this was a “safety issue”. If I had bought one of these for my kid, I wouldn’t return it. I’d inspect it to see if there was defect in the zipper. If there wasn’t, I’d keep it. If I did notice the zipper was put on properly or very good chance that it will fail, then I’d return it. But I would do that with any item that has a defect, recall or no recall. I purchased an item expecting it be of quality. If I’m not getting that, I’m returning it and getting one that isn’t “broken”.

  33. Barbara March 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    What…..??
    Okay, then logically, we should remove / return for refund all shoes with laces – Velcro only – and strings on hoodies – even for teens….I say, keep all that “dangerous” stuff off of clothing until you are 18…or to be safe, make that 21. Oh…and no belts…. That way, only adults get to wear laces, strings, belts, etc…
    Wow…now I’m starting to feel safer……

  34. pentamom March 12, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

    “Yes, not as much from the safety standpoint but from the they bought my product and I should stand behind it standpoint.”

    Which is only a reasonable standpoint if a 1 in 140,000 failure rate on the zipper pull staying attached (regardless of force exerted upon it — who knows how that ONE ZIPPER PULL came off?) is somehow below a reasonable quality standard. That doesn’t seem very likely.

  35. sexhysteria March 13, 2015 at 4:27 am #

    If the zipper detaches the child could use it to sexually abuse herself. That woud be worse than choking to death.

  36. Dave H March 13, 2015 at 5:28 am #

    Saw this and thought of you!

    http://wondermark.com/c1108/

  37. Jill March 13, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Here’s an idea: How about encasing children in some kind of biodegradable jumpsuit with no zippers, buttons or fasteners of any kind for them to swallow or otherwise injure themselves with? It could be sprayed on their bodies (like a spray tan) by certified professionals who passed a rigorous background check.

  38. SanityAnyone? March 13, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    If worn by an infant to toddler, yes, I would appreciate the ability to get a refund without hassle. It’s a nice option if you know your kid sucks on clothing like two of mine did. Just because they want to manufacture clothes for pennies in China doesn’t mean I have no expectation of minimum quality.

    However, bring back the drawstrings in hoods for everyone 5 and up! I can’t even find an adult coat with a drawstring hood and they don’t stay on in a cold gust of wind.

  39. Emily March 13, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    What ever happened to this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AuLkMBAFZg

    When did it happen that teaching children to be careful, gave way to attempting to rid the world of every possible danger? Why did we allow this? As for the sweatshirt, no, I wouldn’t issue a recall. Zippers can break off of things, so I think it should be a parenting decision. If someone knows their toddler tries to eat things that aren’t food, maybe they shouldn’t buy the child a hoodie with a zipper on it, until that phase has passed. It’s just common sense.

  40. Jen March 13, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

    Truly dangerous products should not make it to market or should be recalled. But as a business person, I have a problem with our culture that forces expensive recalls for products because of a risk that someone using a product improperly might get hurt. Particularly if it is abundantly clear how to properly use the product.

    I would not be worried about the zipper pull becoming a choking hazard–I would be annoyed by a sweatshirt that I could never get fastened on my kid let alone her dressing herself because a zipper pull fell off.

    Not to say I am not safety conscious — I hate hooded sweatshirts for the park or any place else they might get caught on something while my child is hopefully playing with reckless abandon!

  41. pentamom March 13, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    “If worn by an infant to toddler, yes, I would appreciate the ability to get a refund without hassle. It’s a nice option if you know your kid sucks on clothing like two of mine did. Just because they want to manufacture clothes for pennies in China doesn’t mean I have no expectation of minimum quality. ”

    Do you really think that a 1 in 140,000 fail rate on a zipper part — at any point in the lifetime of the garment — is not “minimum quality?”

    I don’t know of any stores where you can’t return something that breaks without hassle. The idea that the manufacturer should take back every copy of something (as opposed to refunding on the defective item) because it fails to meet a quality standard of perfection that no manufacturer of anything, anywhere, can meet, seems odd.

  42. Papilio March 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    So yank it a couple of times, if it doesn’t break then, it’s fine.

  43. Andrea March 13, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    “Kroger has received one report of a zipper pull detaching from the sweatshirt. No injuries have been reported.”

    Isn’t this true for about everything in a house?

  44. derfel cadarn March 13, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

    Are they supposed to choke on the detached pull or choke because the shirt will not unzip ? The world is chock full of small objects both animate and inanimate a small child could misuse there are going to be a whole lot of recalls from using CPSC “logic”.

  45. Amanda Matthews March 13, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    I’m surprised they still allow zippers on clothing for infants and toddlers. They’ve already outlawed buttons, sleepsacks and blankets for infants, and any pajamas that aren’t covered in mental-disability-causing flame retardants.

    At what point is the risk of choking, smothering, or burning (keeping in mind that if the flames are close enough to catch a kid’s pjs on fire, the kid is probably dead of smoke inhalation already) greater than the risk of being COLD? Not that cotton/polyester clothing keeps a person very warm. It’s ridiculous. And it’s why I have to make my kids’ clothes and blankets myself – with zippers and buttons when needed, and out of wool when it needs to be warm.

  46. SOA March 15, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    Amanda- I think for the sleeping SIDS part where they don’t want pillows, blankets, etc its because of the smothering factor and the proper way to keep a kid warm but not smothering them is just turn the heat in the house up. We kept it warm enough in our house when ours were babies that they were warm no matter what they were wearing. Then once they got old enough to be able to have blankets, we turned the heater down. There is a way around that situation.

  47. Anna March 16, 2015 at 2:06 am #

    Well, I don’t know. Perhaps after they got the report of a zipper pull coming off they got a bunch of those sweatshirts and tested them to see if it was just one bad one or if they were all made with equally flimsy zipper pulls. If the latter is true, then it makes perfect sense to recall them. Imagine an infant in their back-facing car seat (so the caregiver can’t see them) during a ride of any length, or in a stroller where they are facing forward (again, away from the caregiver), or anywhere else where they were asleep and then woke up before the caregiver noticed the baby had woken up because maybe they didn’t have their eyes continuously trained on the sleeping kid. Imagine the baby felt like fiddling with that zipper pull or even grabbing it with their mouth if they can reach — both of which are things infants are known to do quite a bit. Imagine the zipper pull comes off and the baby, who is slightly reclined in that infant car seat or stroller seat, or is completely horizontal in their crib, ends up with it in their mouth. Are the chances of them swallowing it or worse, choking on it, so infintesimally small that recalling sweatshirts with said flimsy zipper pulls would be completely ridiculous?

  48. Creighton March 16, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    I would not bother to return them. In fact, I believe that one of my boys had one of these sweatshirts. The zipper did break, but I don’t blame the product. It’s the third zipper he has broken in the past year, and if he’s not smart enough not to eat the zipper, well….

    Actions have consequences.

  49. Anna March 17, 2015 at 3:27 am #

    I don’t think you can apply this logic to an infant, Creighton, and probably not most toddlers, either.