Blinds and Shades Recalled For Strangulation Hazard

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Parents of small children should immediately check any roll-up blinds and Roman-style shades in their homes as the government and the window covering industry have recalled these items because they are a strangulation hazard. The shades and blinds need to be repaired to make them safe for children.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that five children have died and 16 have experienced near-strangulation from Roman shades since 2006. Three children have died in connection with roll-up blinds since 2001. About 50 million Roman shades and roll-up shades need to be repaired to make them safe, according to the CPSC.

The manufacturers and retailers involved in the recall is extensive, and a list of individual recalls for the shades and blinds can be seen on the CPSC website (www.cpsc.gov). Among the window coverings recalled include Lotus and Wiindoware roll-up blinds, exclusive to Ace Hardware and Big Lots; International Merchandise, roll-up matchstick shades at Big Lots; All Strong Industry, Roman shades at Walmart and other retailers; JC Penney, Roman shades and roll-up blinds; Walmart Roman shades and roll-up blinds; Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, and PBTeens, Roman shades and roller shades; and West Elm of San Francisco, jute/poly Roman shades exclusive to their establishment.

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Roman shades can be dangerous if children get their neck stuck between the exposed inner cord and the fabric on the backside of the blind. The cord may also become wrapped around a child’s neck. Roll-up blinds can strangle children if the lifting loop slides off the side of the blind and their neck becomes entangled on it. Children may also get their neck caught between the lifting loop and the roll-up blind itself.

People who have cats may want to take note as well: although not mentioned in the recall, cats and kittens do enjoy playing with cords and are at risk for injury and strangulation too.

Customers who have Roman shades or roll-up blinds should contact the Window Covering Safety Council immediately at 1-800-506-4636 or by visiting http://www.windowcoverings.org to receive a free repair kit. You can also contact the CPSC Recall hotline at 1-800-638-2772 or visit the CPSC website (www.cpsc.gov) for more information.

Parents are urged to examine any shades and blinds in the home and ensure there are no cords exposed that a child may have access to. Parents should also not place beds, cribs, or other furniture close to any window that has a shade or blind. Until parents receive a repair kit or switch to cordless shades or blinds, they should remove corded shades and blinds from their windows if possible to remove the risk of strangulation.

SOURCES:
Consumer Product Safety Commission
NBC News/MSNBC.com
Window Covering Safety Council

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