The Consumer Product Safety Commission today will issue the largest civil penalty in its history against a popular maker of car seats, cribs and other children's products, underscoring the agency's effort to get companies to report safety concerns sooner, Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported.
Graco Children's Products Inc., a unit of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NWL) of Atlanta, has agreed to pay $4 million to settle charges it failed to inform the commission in a timely manner that more than 12 million of its products were hazardous to young children. From 1991 to 2002, the agency said, defects in some of the company's most popular strollers, high chairs, swings and beds went unreported to federal safety officials, even as hundreds of injury reports rolled in.
Many of the Graco incidents involved children falling from carriers, high chairs or strollers. Six deaths, resulting when children became trapped at the chest or neck, were associated with the company's infant swing models. While Graco has recalled most of these products, many customers don't hear about recalls. As a result, products associated with the settlement may still be in use. The best Web site for finding out about these products is http:// www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html .
In a statement, Graco emphasized its cooperation with the agency and said it " did not knowingly violate the CPSC's reporting requirements." The company said the failures occurred prior to Newell's 1999 acquisition of Rubbermaid, which owned Graco, and "before the current implementation of systems that will ensure that this will not occur moving forward."
Wall Street Journal Staff Reporter Christopher Conkey contributed to this report. Dow Jones Newswires 03-22-05 0102ET Copyright (C) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.