5.5 million window coverings recalled following strangulations

More than 5.5 million window coverings are being recalled after several children strangled in the cords and other near-strangulation incidents were reported, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The massive recall initiative includes six separate recalls from six different companies, mainly of Roman shades and pull-up blinds. Each of the recalls involves at least one strangulation or near-strangulation.

By far the largest of the recalls is by the Lewis Hyman Co., which is recalling 4.2 million roll-up blinds and 600,000 Roman shades blamed in two deaths. The shades were sold at Target and other retailers nationwide.

Also being recalled are:

Concern about the blinds mainly involve the looped cords used to raise and lower them. Children, particularly toddlers, can get their heads caught in the loops, risking strangulation.

The CPSC urges those who have children in their homes or have children as visitors to check their Roman Shades and roll-up blinds. If looped cords, exposed inner cords or exposed lifting loops are found, the CPSC suggests replacing the blinds or shades with products that do not have exposed pull cords or inner cords.

The types of blinds in this recall were not subject to guidelines the CPSC and the window covering industry agreed to in 1995 that eliminated the loops from most window blinds. Between 1991 and 2003, at least 130 children strangled on these cords.

The window covering industry for well over a decade has been providing free retrofit kits to consumers and offering guidance on safety. To see a graphic demonstration of the dangers of the cords, you read this safety alert issued by the CPSC.
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Eduardo Verdugo, AP
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