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State AG orders thrift stores to stop selling some children's drawstring clothing

State Attorney General T. Eric Schneiderman speaks in

State Attorney General T. Eric Schneiderman speaks in Melville on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The state attorney general's office has sent letters to 46 thrift stores just before back-to-school shopping time demanding they stop selling some children's clothing with drawstrings.

State law forbids the sale of certain clothing with drawstrings, according to a news release from the state attorney general's office.

Drawstrings at the neck and waist of smaller-sized children's garments are considered a safety hazard because they can catch on cribs, playground equipment and vehicle doors.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Monday that the 46 thrift shops across the state have been sent cease-and-desist letters ordering them to halt sales of children's clothing with those types of drawstrings.

In late July, inspectors from the attorney general's office visited 51 thrift shops across the state. Of these, 46 shops were found to be selling one or more items of illegal children's drawstring clothing.

The items included shirts, sweatshirts, pants, shorts and skirts, all of which had drawstrings that exceeded the permitted length.

Drawstrings are permissible at the top of a bottom garment, such as at the waist of sweatpants or at the bottom of an upper garment like a jacket waist in children's clothing sized from 2T to 16, if certain conditions are met.

"The sale of children's clothing with drawstrings has been illegal in New York for more than a decade -- and that includes the sale of these items by thrift stores," Schneiderman said in the release. " . . . With these warning letters, we are sending a clear signal that thrift shops, like all retailers, must comply with the law -- that they cannot sell clothing that puts children at risk of injury, strangulation and death."

The AG's office also wants to raise parents' awareness of the serious dangers posed by some children's drawstring clothing.

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