The Consumer Product Safety Commission last week issued a massive recall of window shades because of the risk of strangulation and death. At least three deaths have been linked to these blinds. In all cases, death occurred because of strangulation by the cords.
The recall includes approximately 5.5 million shades. Since 2005, the agency has been aware of 11 safety incidents, involving children becoming entangled in the cord of a Roman shade. Three of these children suffered fatal injuries.
* In November 2007, a 1-year-old boy from Maine became entangled when the loop of a roll of blind fell into his crib.
* In October 2008, a 13-month-old boy from Arkansas was found strangulated on the cord of a Roman shade.
* In May 2006, a 4-year-old from Florida was found strangled in a vertical blind cord.
The CPSC has written a letter to the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, saying that safety standards, especially those that are currently in place for Roman shades and roll ups, are insufficient, and these need to be revised.
The recall includes a massive one involving 4.2 million roll up blinds imported by Lewis Hyman Inc. The shades were sold exclusively at Target stores around the country. A further 763,000 shades that were imported from China were also recalled by Target because of strangulation hazards. Consumers can return the Target items back to the retailer, and obtain a full refund.
Approximately 120,000 Roman blinds distributed by Ikea, and 85,000 Roman shades sold by Pottery Barn Kids were also recalled after several incidents in which children came close to being strangulated. Blinds made by Vertical Land Inc and Virginia Metal Company have also been recalled.
According to the CPSC, every month, one child dies from strangulation by a window cord. Window shades and window treatments are commonly used in our homes. However, it’s important to ensure that these shades don’t pose a risk to children. Make sure that you keep your children safe from hazards involving blinds and shades.
* Use only cordless window products in babies’ or young children’s rooms.
* If your home continues to have window blinds and coverings that were made before 2001, replace these with blinds, shades and draperies that come with newer enhanced safety features.
* Don’t locate baby cribs, beds and toy chests close to windows or window cords. These pieces of furniture must be located at another wall.
* Make sure that all window pull cords and inner lifts are tucked away out of reach of little hands.
* If your windows have tasseled pull cords, make sure these are short.
* Continuous loop cords must be anchored to the wall or floor.
* Ensure that your cords are installed properly.
Cord safety is extremely important when choosing window treatments at home. This is especially true if you have young kids at home, or children who keep visiting. Modern window coverings tend to come with built-in safety features that are in line with all safety standards. Besides, nearly all styles of window dressings come in cord-free styles too.