Millions of shades, blinds recalled

December 15, 2009 2:52:16 PM PST
More than 50 million Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds were recalled Tuesday due to a risk of child strangulation. Five deaths and 16 near strangulations from the Roman shades have been reported since 2006, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and three deaths connected to the roll-up blinds have been reported since 2001.

Roman shades can become dangerous, the CPSC said, if a child's neck gets stuck between the exposed inner cord and the fabric on the backside of the blind, or if the cord gets wrapped around a child's neck.

Read the recall at cps.gov

Roll-up blinds pose a strangulation threat if the lifting loop slides off the side of the blind and a child's neck becomes entangled on it, or if a child neck's gets between the lifting loop and the roll-up blind material.

The commission and the industry urged parents to examine all shades and blinds in the home and make sure they have no accessible cords. They also advised parents not to place cribs, beds or other furniture close to windows because children can climb on the furniture and reach the cords.

Linda Keiser's daughter died after being strangled by the blinds hanging from the window almost 8 years ago.

"I tied up the pole cord and she had somehow pulled that inner cord out and that formed a loop around her neck," said Linda Keiser, Parents for Window Blind Safety.

Since then, Keiser has dedicated herself to get manufacturers to change their standards. Tuesday's industry wide recall of 50 million roman style shades and blinds is a victory says Keiser but still just the first step.

"Just because you have a window covering that's not a roman shade, that doesn't mean they are safe. It can strangle your child," said Keiser. Parents urged to follow these guidelines:

To help prevent child strangulation in window coverings, CPSC and the WCSC urge parents and caregivers to follow these guidelines:

  • 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.
  • Do not place cribs, beds, and furniture close to the windows because children can climb on them and gain access to the cords.
  • Make loose cords inaccessible.
  • If the window shade has looped bead chains or nylon cords, install tension devices to keep the cord taut.

    "We will see more action but the U.S. Consumer product safety commission. We are heartbroken when we see cases where children die because of lack of product safety," said Inez Tenenbaum, Consumer Product Safety Commission

    Cordless window coverings are recommended for all homes where children live or visit.

    Several major retailers, including Wal-Mart, JCPenney and Pottery Barn, are also participating in the recall.

    Consumers can obtain free retrofit kits for Roman shades and roll-up blinds online at windowcoverings.org or by calling the Window Covering Safety Council toll-free at 1-800-506-4636.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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