· An Aug. 29 Business article about retailers recalling bassinets made by Simplicity Inc. incorrectly referred to Robert Pincus as chairman, and James A. Baker IV, Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., Ed Mathias and Ed Rogers as board members, of SFCA, the company that bought Simplicity's assets in April. Pincus is the chairman of Blackstreet Capital, a private equity fund affiliated with SFCA and Baker, Boggs, Mathias and Rogers are on Blackstreet's board of advisers.
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Bassinet Sales Halted After Deaths of Two Infants
The family of the Kansas girl bought the bassinet in February at a Wal-Mart, said the family's attorney Charles Kelly.
Yesterday, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, K-Mart, Big Lots, Target and JCPenney all agreed to recall the bassinets and provide customers a refund or store credit.
"We are working with the supplier and CPSC and are directing store managers to remove product identified in the CPSC press release from store shelves and initiating a register block to prevent sale," Wal-Mart said in a statement. "In addition, we are in the process of removing this product from sale at Walmart.com."
Even before the new law was passed, the CPSC had the power to warn the public about the potential hazard, said Don Mays, senior director of product safety for Consumers Union. In June 2007, the CPSC issued a safety alert about an all-terrain vehicle for children as young as 6 that had no front breaks. Mays said the agency could also have tried to persuade the company to do a recall.
CPSC's Vallese said the agency opened an investigation into the Simplicity bassinets after the first death but could not comment further about the agency's actions because the investigation is ongoing.
The Missouri girl died Sept. 29, while Simplicity was in the midst of recalling about 1 million cribs. That recall was the second involving the same crib and was prompted by 55 incidents, including seven entrapments and the death of at least two infants. In June 2007, Simplicity recalled 40,000 units of another crib.
Legal experts said SFCA is not obligated to comply with the CPSC's request to do a recall because of the way its purchase of Simplicity's assets was structured.
"The reason to buy assets is to not incur liabilities," said Barry Barbash, a partner and head of the asset management group at law firm Willkie, Farr & Gallagher.