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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kathleen Begala
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1193
May 27, 1993
Release # 93-074

Hedstrom and Blazon-Flexible Flyer Renew Slide Guard Offer to Prevent Strangulation From Clothing String Entanglement

PRODUCT: "Hedstrom Big T" swing sets, Blazon-Flexible Flyer "T-Type Play Centers," and Sears brand T-style gym sets. Approximately 1.5 million sets were sold between 1973 and 1991.

PROBLEM: Strings from children's clothing may become entangled in the area where the handrail attaches to the slide. This presents a strangulation hazard. This notice, originally released in August 1992, is being reissued now to reach consumers who did not receive the earlier announcement.

WHAT TO DO: Companies are offering consumers guards to prevent possible entanglement. The guards fill in the handrail-to-slide area where clothing strings can catch. Consumers should call Hedstrom Corporation at 1-800-453-7077 or 1-800-233-3271; Blazon-Flexible Flyer, Inc. at 1-800-521-6233; or Turco representatives at 1-800-228-8237.

WASHINGTON, DC -- In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Hedstrom Corporation of Bedford, PA, Blazon-Flexible Flyer, Inc. of West Point, MS, and representatives of Turco, a firm that went out of business in 1986, are reissuing a notice to provide consumers with guards for the handrail attachment area on certain home playground slides. These guards prevent the entanglement of strings from children's clothing, which could result in strangulation.

The firms are renewing this offer because of low consumer response to the initial notice. Only about 5,000 consumers have called for retrofit kits so far. Altogether, about 1.5 million sets were sold between 1973 and 1991.

Plastic guards offered by the companies will fill in the handrail-to-slide area where a child's clothing may catch and possibly result in strangulation. The slides involved are on the "Hedstrom Big T" swing sets and the Blazon-Flexible Flyer "T-Type Play Centers," and on Sears brand T-style gym sets manufactured by all three firms.

The Hedstrom Corporation received a report that a three- year-old-girl strangled when her mitten strings, which were strung through her coat, caught at the point where the handrail attaches to the Big T slide. In addition, the Commission is aware of a hood string of a child's jacket that became entangled in the handrail attachment area of an older, similarly-designed slide whose brand could not be identified.

While Blazon-Flexible Flyer, Inc. and Turco are unaware of any reports of entanglement, they are offering the guards along with Hedstrom because their slide/handrail attachment is considered by CPSC to be functionally identical to that of the Hedstrom Big T slide involved in the incidents.

Hedstrom Big T and Blazon-Flexible Flyer T-Type Play Center swing sets with slides were sold nationally in retail stores from 1986 through 1991. They sold for approximately $100-200 each. Turco swing sets were sold from 1973 to 1987. Hedstrom, Blazon- Flexible Flyer and Turco also sold their T-style swing sets under the Sears labels with various model numbers.

Consumers are urged to contact Hedstrom Corporation at 1-800-453-7077 or 1-800-233-3271; Blazon-Flexible Flyer, Inc. at 1-800-521-6233; or Turco representatives at 1-800-228-8237 immediately to receive the plastic guards. The guards can be easily attached at the handrail-to-slide area of the T-style swing sets.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is announcing this modification program as part of its mission to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The Commission's objective is to reduce the estimated 28.6 million injuries and 21,700 deaths associated each year with the 15,000 different types of consumer products under CPSC's jurisdiction.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury and for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To order a press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the release number. Consumers can report product hazards to info@cpsc.gov.

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