Product Liability

Window blind recall expanded; strangulation hazard to children

Collier Ursprung was a year and a half old when his parents walked into his bedroom and found the toddler standing in his crib with the cord of a window blind wrapped three times around his neck. “As he pulled it kept getting tighter,” his father, Robert, told ABC News. “We just averted a disaster that could have changed our lives forever.”

Collier is one of a surprisingly long list of young children who have been injured or killed by window coverings during the past 15 years – five deaths and 16 near-strangulations with Roman blinds since 2006, and three deaths in roll-up blinds since 2001. The reports prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) last August to issue a recall on specific brands of window blinds and shades.

This week, the CSPC and Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) expanded the recall to include all Roman shades and roll-up blinds, a recall that involves millions of window blinds. About five million Roman shades and three million roll-up blinds are sold each year.

“You will see some more action by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,” Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC chairman, told “Good Morning America.” “We are heartbroken when we see cases where children die because of lack of product safety.

Strangulation hazards with the blinds include looped bead chains in Roman shades and the lifting loop in roll-up blinds. “Any loop is the enemy of children,” Tenenbaum said, adding that a binding blind cord could kill a child in mere seconds.

In 1994, CPSC and WCSC announced a recall to repair horizontal blinds to prevent strangulation hazards posed by pull cord and inner cord loops. Since then, the industry has modified its products and provides free repair kits for existing horizontal blinds and other window coverings.

Consumers who have Roman or roll-up shades in their homes should cntact the WCSC immediately at www.windowcoverings.org or by calling (800) 506-4636.