Carter’s Is Giving ME A Rash

Carter’s has issued a statement regarding their Fall 2007 line of “tag-less”-labeled baby and infant clothing causing allergic reactions and rashes, which can be found in its entirety here:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission‘s advisory on this issue is here:

The affected garments have tags that look like this:

Garments with tags like the following are NOT part of the advisory:

Interestingly, Carter’s is not issuing a recall, saying they’ve researched the matter thoroughly and concluded it’s only an issue in babies and infants with sensitive skin. Really, Carter’s?

We have conducted an internal review of the product and test results, required our label manufacturers to do the same, and coordinated with several independent experts, including physicians, to provide their analyses. Our review and testing provide no indication that the labels contain any known skin irritants or abrasive chemicals, or that such a rash is anything beyond a rare allergic reaction to an otherwise safe product. We have received fewer than four reported rashes for every 1,000,000 of these products sold.

Nevertheless, we have been working closely with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and issued a joint advisory to alert consumers to the situation.

Carter’s claims “fewer than four reported rashes for every 1,000,000 of these products sold”. Seriously? Babies and infants get rashes all the time. Carters, do you really think that most people would consider your clothing the source of the problem? Most parents write such rashes off as reactions to teething or laundry detergent or something else entirely. The statistics mention seems a little…disingenuous.

Our opinion on this is that Carter’s should do a recall and take a little more responsibility. Carter’s is basically saying their clothes “technically and legally aren’t a problem” and then are more or less pointing the finger at the kids wearing the clothes for being too sensitive. Umm, yeah.

And if the rash persists? It’s apparently left to us to figure out on our own, according to their statement:

What should I do if my child has a reaction to a tag-less label?
You should stop using the garment that caused the reaction. If the condition persists, please contact your pediatrician for advice. We also encourage anyone with questions or comments to contact us at 1-888-282-4674 or by e-mail at

And there’s this:

Is this reaction serious?
It is our understanding that the reaction is a type of allergic reaction called contact dermatitis and that it generally clears up completely within a matter of days after removal from contact with the allergen. If the condition persists, please contact your pediatrician for advice.

That’s right. They’re in the clear from the CPSC, so if the rash hangs around, you should simply start throwing piles of cash at your kid’s doctor and work it out yourself. Good grief.

Some of you may remember that we had issues with Carter’s in the past, and we weren’t even complaining or reporting a problem. We once attempted to contact Carter’s for help finding a replacement for a toy for Benjamin…and never got any response from Carter’s at all.

Does Carter’s think they’re actually responsive to consumers? Our own experience says they’re not… so we’re not particularly inclined to think Carter’s actually received or processed any or all reports regarding this rash issue.

As always, Carter’s is here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Please feel free to contact our Consumer Affairs center anytime at 1-888-282-4674 or by e-mail at

Tsk tsk, Carter’s. I want what you’re claiming about always being there for customers to be true; I really do. But it’s not. We’ve emailed you at that very email address above––when we were looking for that replacement toy some time ago. We’ve still not received a reply. Not even an automated “got your message, we’ll get back to you” reply. Nothing. We were actually trying to buy something from you.

Maybe now that they’re trying to save some face they’re finally checking their email. Maybe they’ll find that email of ours, from two years ago. (Don’t bother replying now; the replacement-toy issue is long-since resolved, thanks (for nothing)!)

We do have some of the Carter’s clothing affected by this issue. Both Benjamin and Zachary have had some rashes, too. But, are they from the Carter’s clothing? Even now, we have no idea! However, in the spirits of both “better safe than sorry”, and “it’s the principle of the thing”, you can bet we’ll be contacting Carter’s to get those items refunded. Will it be a full refund? Carter’s says yes:

What do I do if I’m not satisfied with my Carter’s clothing?
As is our standard policy, customers may return any item that they are not satisfied with for a full refund. Our Consumer Affairs staff can be reached at 1-888-282-4674 or by email at, and will help with that return.

Since prices vary all over the place, I wonder what they consider a ‘full’ refund. We’ll see.

And, to be clear, we do like Carter’s stuff. We still buy Carter’s clothing and other items. But their customer service and their handling of this issue–in my opinion–leave something to be desired. I guess we’ve always held Carter’s to an all-around higher standard; maybe we shouldn’t.

Are you affected by this clothing issue? What are your thoughts? Have you called/emailed them regarding a refund yet? What was the experience like? We’d love for you to share your stories and experiences in the comments.

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