The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Covering Safety Council are recalling 50 million roll-up blinds and Roman shades because they are a potential strangulation hazard to young kids. A child can get seriously hurt if his/her neck gets tangled in the cord used to work the blinds and shades.
Since 2001, there have been three deaths involving the roll-up blinds and 16 near-strangulations and five deaths involving the Roman shades in the past three years. These shades can be fixed with a free repair kit. In the meantime, parents, guardians, and adults should take precautionary measures to childproof the blinds and shades by making sure that the cords are not easily accessible to kids—especially infants and toddlers. This includes making sure that there isn’t furniture close to the windows that children can climb on top of to reach the cords. If a cord reaches all the way to the ground, then it is important to make sure the cord is properly secured and taut. Another option is to stop using these blinds and shades.
According to Safe Kids USA, nearly 900 kids younger than age 15 die every year from airway obstruction. Most of the fatalities are children younger than age 4. About 17,200 strangulation injuries involving child victims occur annually. Most strangulation incidents take place in the home.
Window shades and blinds manufacturers have long been aware of the strangulation hazard these products have posed for young children. Yet they continue to sell their defectively designed products to consumers. How many child injuries and deaths must occur before manufacturers will stop producing these faulty furniture items?
Furniture makers can be held liable for Washington DC products liability or wrongful death involving injuries to minors.
Window Covering Safety Council Recalls to Repair All Roman and Roll-Up Blinds Due to Risk of Strangulation, CPSC, December 15, 2009
Blind recall: How to check if your Roman shades are safe, The Christian Science Monitor, December 15, 2009
Airway Obstruction, Safe Kids
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