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Recall Targets 9.6 Million Mesh Playpens

November 25, 1998| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Millions of playpens are being recalled because they pose a hazard of strangulation for children wearing loose clothing or pacifier strings.

Eight children have died since 1982 when strings around their necks or their clothing got caught on metal rivets sticking out of the playpens, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday.

According to the commission, the 9.6 million recalled playpens are portable mesh models that can be folded for travel and storage. They carry the brand names Bilt-Rite, Evenflo, Gerry, Graco, Kolcraft, Playskool, Pride-Trimble and Strolee. Some were made as long as 38 years ago, others as recently as May.

The safety commission originally blamed six of the eight playpen deaths on pacifiers with strings and the other two on sweaters with loose strings. But it also linked the strangulation deaths to playpens this year.

The sale of pacifiers with strings has been prohibited since 1977, but that does not keep parents from putting pacifiers on string or ribbon after they get them home.

Two of the eight manufacturers are out of business, but the other six are offering a variety of remedies, including repair kits and cash awards upon proof that a potentially dangerous playpen has been destroyed.

The safety agency said consumers should check the outside top rails of playpens for protruding metal rivets, which are similar to nut and bolt fasteners but have fixed heads that can neither be removed nor tightened.

It said the rivets typically protrude about one-quarter to one-half inch from the outside top rails of the playpens. If protruding rivets are found, consumers can call (800) 794-4115 for details about what to do.

The agency also referred consumers to its Internet site: http://www.cpsc.gov.

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