Death of two year old leads to recall of window blinds

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by John Chapman

Window blinds and coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in the home according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”). About once a month, a child between 7 months and 10 years old dies from window cord strangulation and another child suffers a near strangulation. In recent years, CPSC has recalled over five million window coverings, including Roman shades, roller and roll-up blinds, vertical blinds and horizontal blinds.

Strangulation deaths and injuries can occur anywhere in the house where a window covering with a cord is installed. Children can wrap window covering cords around their necks or can pull cords that are not clearly visible and become entangled in the loops.

The 2009 death of a 2 year-old girl has now led to yet another recall. Blind Xpress of Livonia, Mich. is announcing the recall of about 139,000 custom-made vertical and 315,000 horizontal blinds. In 2009, a 2-year-old girl reportedly strangled in the loop of a vertical blind cord that was not attached to the wall or floor.

Blind Xpress custom vertical blinds have an adjustment cord that forms a loop that is not attached to the wall or floor. In some instances, this loop has a weighted device at the bottom. The custom horizontal blinds do not have inner cord stop devices to prevent the accessible inner cords from being pulled out. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child can become entangled in a cord loop and strangle.

The recall involves all Blind Xpress custom-made vertical blinds that do not have a cord-tensioning device that attaches to the wall or floor, as well as all horizontal blinds that do not have inner cord stop devices. The blinds were sold at various blind specialty stores in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana from January 1995 through December 2011 for between $16 and $380.

CPSC urges consumers to immediately stop using the window coverings and contact the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) to receive a free repair kit. For more information, contact the WCSC toll-free at (800) 506-4636 anytime or visit www.windowcoverings.org.