November 1, 2000CPSC, Window Covering Industry
Announce Recall to Repair Window Blinds
New Investigation of
Children's Deaths Leads to Redesigned Window Blinds
D.C. (SafetyAlerts) - The U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council are
announcing a recall to repair horizontal window blinds to prevent the risk of
strangulation to young children. The recall involves millions of window blinds with pull
cords and inner cords that can form a loop and cause strangulation. About 85 million
window blinds are sold each year.
Since 1991, CPSC has received reports of 130 strangulations involving cords on window
blinds. 114 strangulations involve the outer pull cords, and 16 involve the inner cords
that hold the blind slats.
In 1995, CPSC worked with the window covering industry to redesign new window blinds to
eliminate the outer loop on the end of pull cords and provide free repair kits so
consumers could fix their existing blinds. CPSC issued a safety alert (pdf
format) about this hazard and what consumers can do about it, including a detailed
description of the free repair kits. Window blinds sold since 1995 no longer have pull
cords ending in loops.
Last year, 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 the child can hang in. All of these deaths involved
children in cribs placed next to windows. In most cases, the outer pull cords were placed
out of reach, but the children 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 new CPSC investigation, the industry has further redesigned window
blinds. Newly manufactured blinds have attachments on the pull cords so that the inner
cords can't form a loop if pulled by a young child. Consumers with existing blinds should
have them repaired. The repair can be done in minutes without removing the blinds.
Consumers who have window blinds with cords in their homes should call the Window Covering
Safety Council toll-free (800) 506-4636 to receive a free repair kit for each set of
blinds in the home. You can also visit their web site - www.windowcoverings.org - to get
more information on checking your window covering. The repair kit will include small
plastic attachments to prevent the inner cords from being pulled loose. 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 a safety tassel at the end of each pull cord.
Consumers who have vertical blinds, draperies or pleated shades with continuous loop cords
should request special tie-downs to prevent strangulation in those window coverings.
Parents should keep window covering cords and chains permanently out of the reach of
children. Never place a child's crib 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 that parents never knot or tie the cords together because this
creates a new loop in which a child could become entangled.
Consumers who have young children may wish to consider purchasing cordless window
coverings. These are made by a number of firms.
Notice of this product warning was
sent via email to SafeMail
subscribers June 30, 2000.
Safety Alerts compiles
comprehensive safety recall information for the United States. SafeMail is a free email
service to warn consumers of faulty products and contaminated foods. For complete
information regarding current recalls, past recalls and timely product warning
notification visit: www.safetyalerts.com.