According to a report in today’s Chicago Tribune both federal regulators and Graco Children’s Products withheld warnings about potentially dangerous bassinets being marketed under the Graco name. The article, written by Patricia Callahan, explains that on August 27, 2008, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission had issued a urgent warning, advising consumers not to use Simplicity Bassinets, as a design flaw had already resulted in the strangulation deaths of two infants. Both children had become entrapped in metal bars contained in the product’s framework.
The article goes on to detail how Graco officials saw the warning on August 28, 2008, and, that same day, told officials with the Safety Commission that some Simplicity Bassinets had been marketed under the Graco name and were identical to those models identified in the safety alert. Additionally, on August 28, 2008, Nancy Cowles, executive director of Chicago-based Kids in Danger, saw an Internet posting from a consumer that her Graco product looked exactly like the Simplicity model. Cowles then contacted the Safety Commission to inquire about the Graco models. According to Cowles, a spokesman for the agency brushed her off.
Neither Graco nor the Safety Commission issued an immediate recall for the Graco models. Graco indicated that “matters were complicated” by a change in ownership at Simplicity. An outfit called SFCA Inc. had purchased Simplicity’s assets in May and had been “uncooperative” with the Safety Commission. Graco did issue a safety alert on its website today, identifying 17 Simplicity models that may have carried the Graco name. Consumers may return them retailers for refunds or store credit.
The Safety Commission did not respond to repeated requests for comments.