Do you know how old your window blinds, shades, or curtains are? Blinds sold after 1995 were manufactured particularly to eliminate a dangerous loop that was implicated in stragulation deaths of 140 children. But the pull-cord-loop is not the only known window covering hazard. The older your window coverings are, the more likely you may benefit from the U.S. Consumer Product Safetly Commision's (CSPC) December 15, 2009 recall. The CSPC has teamed with the Window Covering Safety Council to provide important safety information and free cord-repair kits.
Check out these websites for more information, diagrams, photos and videos that show the potential dangers window coverings may hold for children, and be sure to pass this information along to your child's grandparents, childcare providers, or other appropriate individuals:
Window Covering Safety Council Recalls to Repair All Roman and Roll-Up Blinds Due to Risk of Strangulation--Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) are announcing today a voluntary recall to repair all Roman shades and roll-up blinds to prevent the risk of strangulation to young children. This recall involves millions of Roman and roll-up blinds. About five million Roman shades and about three million roll-up blinds are sold each year.Children Can Strangle in Window Covering Cords--Press Release
CPSC has received reports of five deaths and 16 near strangulations, since 2006, in Roman shades and three deaths, since 2001, in roll-up blinds. Strangulations in Roman shades can occur when a child places his/her neck between the exposed inner cord and the fabric on the backside of the blind or when a child pulls the cord out and wraps it around his/her neck. Strangulations in roll-up blinds can occur if the lifting loop slides off the side of the blind and a child’s neck becomes entangled on the free-standing loop or if a child places his/her neck between the lifting loop and the roll-up blind material.
“Over the past 15 years, CPSC has been investigating window covering hazards and working with the WCSC to ensure the safety of window coverings. We commend the WCSC for providing consumers with repair kits that make window coverings safer and look forward to future steps to eliminate these hazards,” said Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC Chairman.
Over the years, CPSC has been investigating deaths associated with different types of window coverings and has worked with the WCSC to address the hazards posed by them. In 1994 and in 2000, CPSC and WCSC announced recalls to repair horizontal blinds to prevent strangulation hazards posed by pull cord and inner cord loops. As a result of CPSC investigations, the industry has modified its products and provides free repair kits for existing horizontal blinds and other window coverings. In October 2009, CPSC issued a new safety alert to warn parents about the dangers associated with window coverings.
Consumers that have Roman or roll-up shades in their homes should contact the WCSC immediately at www.windowcoverings.org or by calling (800) 506-4636 anytime to receive a free repair kit.
To help prevent child strangulation in window coverings, CPSC and the WCSC urge parents and caregivers to follow these guidelines:
CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx
- 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.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054. To join a CPSC e-mail subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to CPSC's Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov/.
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) announced recalls to repair horizontal window blinds to prevent the risk of strangulation to young children. The recalls involved millions of window blinds with pull cords and inner cords that can form a loop and cause strangulation.
From 1991 to 2000, CPSC received reports of 160 strangulations involving cords on window blinds: 140 strangulations involved the outer pull cords, and 20 involved the inner cords that run through the blind slats.
In 1994, CPSC worked with the window covering industry to redesign new window blinds to eliminate the outer loop on the end of the pull cords and provide free repair kits so consumers could fix their existing blinds. Window blinds sold since 1995 no longer have pull cords ending in loops.
In 1999, CPSC began a new investigation of window blind deaths. In an extensive review of incidents, CPSC found that children could also become entangled in the inner cords that are used to raise the slats of blinds. These entrapments occur when a young child pulls on an inner cord and it forms a loop that a child can hang in. All of these deaths involved children in cribs or playpens placed next to windows. In most cases, the outer pull cords were placed out of reach, but the children still strangled when they pulled on the inner cords of the blinds. The strangulation victims ranged in age from 9 months to 17 months.
As a result of the CPSC investigation, the industry has further redesigned window blinds. Window blinds sold since November 2000 have attachments on the pull cords so that the inner cords can’t form a loop if pulled by a young child. Consumers with blinds bought before Nov. 2000 should repair them.
Consumers who have window blinds with loops should immediately visit WCSC (http://www.windowcoverings.org/) or call 1-800-506-4636 to receive a free repair kit for each set of blinds. The repair kit includes small plastic attachments to prevent inner cords from being pulled loose. Instructions for cord stop installation (http://www.windowcoverings.org/) are easy and repair can be done in minutes without removing blinds.
The kit also includes safety tassels for pre-1995 window blinds with outer pull cords ending in loops. Consumers should cut the loops and install the safety tassel at the end of each pull cord.
Consumers who have vertical blinds, draperies or pleated shades with continuous loop cords can also order from the same toll-free number a special tiedown to prevent strangulation in those window coverings.
Consumers can obtain this publication and additional publication information from the Publications section of CPSC's web site or by sending your publication request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Parents should keep window covering cords and chains permanently out of the reach of children
- Never place a child’s crib or playpen within reach of a window blind.
- Unless the cords can be completely removed from the child’s reach, including when the child climbs on furniture, CPSC recommends against knotting or tying the cords together because this creates a new loop in which a child could become entangled.
This document is in the public domain. It may be reproduced without change in part or whole by an individual or organization without permission. If it is reproduced, however, the Commission would appreciate knowing how it is used. Write the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Office of Information and Public Affairs, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814 or send an e-mail via CPSC's On-Line Form.
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