By Catherine Bertram, Partner
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled more than 50 million Roman-style blinds and roll up blinds due to the risk of strangulation. About five million Roman shades and about three million roll-up blinds are sold each year.
According to the recall notice, "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:
- 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."
NBC Nightly News (12/15, lead story, Williams) reported, "The federal government reached about as far into American homes as they possibly could today and they did it right through the windows. They are also telling all of us it’s for our own good. Today they launched one of the largest product recalls in American history."
CBS Evening News (12/15, story by Couric) reported, "More than 50 million Roman-style shades and rollup blinds are being recalled because their cords can strangle a child. In fact, since 2001, eight children have died after their necks got caught in the cords of these shades and blinds."
ABC World News (12/15, story by Gibson) reported that the recall "is causing big confusion. Consumers calling the recall hotline today heard an automated message offering repair kits for blinds that are not part of the recall. And the confusion continued at stores."
In a story appearing on at least 332 news websites, the AP (12/15) reported, "The Consumer Product Safety Commission said five deaths and 16 near-strangulations from Roman shades have been reported since 2006, while three deaths connected to roll-up blinds have been reported since 2001." The commission "and the industry urged parents to examine all shades and blinds in the home and make sure they have no accessible cords." Several major retailers, "including Wal-Mart, JCPenney and Pottery Barn, are also participating in the recall."
CNNMoney.com (12/15, Yousuf) reported, "CPSC said it is working with the Window Covering Safety Council, an industry trade group, to provide repair kits for Roman shades and roll-up blinds sold at retailers." The repair "will eliminate the cord from the Roman shades and instead provide rings for consumers to install." The Wall Street Journal (12/16, Trottman) also covered the story.
If you or a family member believe that you have a case involving death or injury caused by an unsafe product or the unsafe acts of someone else, please email me or call me directly at 202-822-1875 for a free consultation.
About the author:
Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a 2010 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C. Ms. Bertram has 20 years of trial experience. She is a partner with the firm and devotes her practice to the representation of individuals and the families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to unsafe devices or the negligence of others. Ms. Bertram lives with her family in Washington, D.C. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 202-822-1875 in her D.C. office.