Today the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) announced a voluntary recall to repair all Roman shades and roll-up blinds due to the risk of strangulation for young children. Roman shades or Roman blinds are made of soft fabric that pleats together when raised. The recall involves approximately 50 million shades and blinds. This is a product recall of historic proportions. Approximately 5 million Roman shades and 3 million roll-up blinds are sold each year.
In regard to Roman shades, the CPSC has received reports of 5 deaths and 16 near-strangulations since 2006. In regard to roll-up blinds, the CPSC has received reports of 3 deaths since 2001. A strangulation can occur with Roman shades if a child places his or her neck between the cord and fabric or if a child wraps the cord around his or her neck. Child strangulations may occur with roll-up blinds if the child’s neck becomes entangled in a cord loop or between the lifting loop and roll-up 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 safe and look forward to future steps to eliminate these hazards,” said CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum.
The CPSC and the WCSC has worked together to investigate window covering hazards and ensure the safety of all window coverings. In 1994, the CPSC and WCSC announced recalls to repair strangulation hazards posed by horizontal blinds with pull cords and cord loops. As a result of continued CPSC investigations, the window covering industry has changed products and now offers free repair kits for horizontal blinds and other window coverings. Earlier this year the CPSC issued a safety alert to warn parents about the strangulation hazards associated with window coverings.
If you have Roman shades or roll-up blinds in your home, and if children ever visit your home, you should contact the WCSC immediately by visiting windowcoverings.org or by calling 1-800-506-4636. The WCSC will supply a free repair kit.
The CPSC released the following guidelines for parents and caregivers to prevent child strangulation in window coverings:
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.
If you or a family member have been injured by a defective product or a recalled product, contact a Georgia personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.