Roman Shades Recall

A mother says in an interview that she’s been waiting for this day to come ever since her one-year-old daughter was strangled by a home window blind cord in June 2002. That’s when she tucked twins into baby blankets in their cribs. One of the twins accidentally strangled herself by looping an inner cord within the window blinds around her neck.

Since the twin’s death, the mother has formed Parents for Window Blind Safety, lobbying the federal government for a recall of the dangerous blinds.

This week, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, working with industry to recall all Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds with cords because of the risk of strangulation.

That includes more than 50 million blinds and shades from multiple manufacturers. The CPSC Web site has pictures of the various blinds that are involved in the recall. Basically whether a roll-up shade or a Roman shade, both have visible cords that can be pulled out from inside the folds on the blinds. For some toddlers, that is too much temptation to resist.

The CPSC has received reports of five deaths among children and 16 near-strangulations from fabric-looped Roman shades since 2006. Three deaths associated with roll-up blinds have been reported since 2001.

A spokesman for the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC), the group representing manufacturers and retails, denies any delay. “We’re working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission every single day to work within their standards,” said Nat Klein to the Chicago Tribune.

The industry offers a Web site and phone number (800) 506-4636 to provide parents with a free repair kit.

What Consumers Can Do
Parents should examine their window covering to make sure they are safe. Many of the hazardous blinds were hung years ago and present a danger today. Parents should:

  • Look for accessible cords on the front, side or back of the product. The CPSC recommends cordless window coverings in all home where children live or visit.
  • Do not place cribs, beds or furniture close to a window where the window covering can be accessed by little hands.
  • Make loose cords inaccessible
  • If the window shade does have a looped bead chain or a nylon cord, install a tension device the keep the cord taut.

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 in it, or if a child’s neck gets between the lifting loop and the roll-up blind material.