Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Millions of Blinds and Shades Recalled by Consumer Product Safety Commission
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Covering Safety Council announced today a voluntary recall to repair all Roman shades and roll-up blinds to prevent the risk of strangulation to young children.
This recall involves millions of Roman and roll-up blinds. About five million Roman shades and about three million roll-up blinds are sold each year.
CPSC has received reports of five deaths and 16 near strangulations since 2006 in Roman shades, and three deaths since 2001 in roll-up blinds.
Strangulations in Roman shades can occur when a child places his/her neck between the exposed inner cord and the fabric on the backside of the blind or when a child pulls the cord out and wraps it around his/her neck. Strangulations in roll-up blinds can occur if the lifting loop slides off the side of the blind and a child’s neck becomes entangled on the free-standing loop or if a child places his/her neck between the lifting loop and the roll-up blind material.
“Over the past 15 years, CPSC has been investigating window covering hazards and working with the WCSC to ensure the safety of window coverings. We commend the WCSC for providing consumers with repair kits that make window coverings safer and look forward to future steps to eliminate these hazards,” said Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC chairman.
Over the years, CPSC has been investigating deaths associated with different types of window coverings and has worked with the WCSC to address the hazards posed by them. In 1994 and in 2000, CPSC and WCSC announced recalls to repair horizontal blinds to prevent strangulation hazards posed by pull cord and inner cord loops. As a result of CPSC investigations, the industry has modified its products and provides free repair kits for existing horizontal blinds and other window coverings. In October 2009, CPSC issued a new safety alert to warn parents about the dangers associated with window coverings.
Consumers that have Roman or roll-up shades in their homes should contact the WCSC immediately at www.windowcoverings.org or by calling (800) 506-4636 anytime to receive a free repair kit.
To help prevent child strangulation in window coverings, CPSC and the WCSC urge parents and caregivers to follow these guidelines:
1. Examine all shades and blinds in the home. Make sure there are no accessible cords on the front, side, or back of the product. CPSC and the WCSC recommend the use of cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit.
2. Do not place cribs, beds, and furniture close to the windows because children can climb on them and gain access to the cords.
3. Make loose cords inaccessible.
4. If the window shade has looped bead chains or nylon cords, install tension devices to keep the cord taut.