As far as product recalls go, this one’s a whopper. The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Covering Safety Council have just announced a nationwide voluntary recall to repair all Roman shades and roll-up blinds to prevent the risk of strangulation to young children. Considering that around five million Roman shades and three million roll-up blinds are sold each year — complete with the dangling cords that are responsible for five deaths and 16 near-strangulations in the past three years — this easily puts the number of affected shades and blinds close to 100 million.
With Roman shades, strangulation can occur when a child’s neck gets wedged between the exposed inner cord and the fabric on the back or when the cords wraps around his or her neck. Strangulation in roll-up blinds can result if the child’s neck becomes entangled on the free-standing loop or if his or her neck slips between the lifting loop and the roll-up blind material.
If you have Roman or roll-up shades in your home, contact the WCSC immediately at www.windowcoverings.org or by calling 800-506-4636 to receive a free repair kit.
- 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.