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10 Million Playpens To Be Recalled

November 24, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The government safety agency announced the recall today of nearly 10 million playpens _ some of them first made nearly four decades ago _ because children wearing pacifier strings or loose clothing can strangle on protruding parts.

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

It said 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.

The agency announcement said some of the playpens were made 38 years ago, others as recently as May.

The federal safety commission initially blamed six of the eight playpen deaths over the past 16 years 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.

The agency reiterated its admonition that a pacifier should never be hung around a child’s neck.

Two of the eight companies 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 than can neither be removed nor tightened.

It said the offending loose rivets typically protrude about one-quarter to one-half inch from the outside top rails of the playpens.

If protruding rivets are found, consumers were urged to call 1-800-794-4114 for details about what to do.

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

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