You read that right: today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Shade Safety Council (an industry trade association) announced a voluntary recall of all roman shades and roll-up blinds that are controlled with a cord. That's all of those kinds of shades ever made -- ever. Does anybody not have at least one of these in their house, or a house they visit frequently?
The recall was issued due to reports received by the CPSC of five deaths and 16 near strangulations, since 2006, in Roman shades and three deaths, since 2001, in roll-up blinds. The cords are the hazard; kids can get tangled up in them and then be unable to free themselves. And while millions of kids have grown up safely in homes with these kinds of shades (WCSC reports that roughly five million Roman shades and three million roll-up blinds are sold each year), it's such a scary thing to contemplate the dangers it seems like a lot of us are going to be going for curtains next time we buy window coverings.
Still, you can make your home safer right away: Get a free repair kit for your roman or roll-up shades at the WCSC’s website www.windowcoverings.org or call (800) 506-4636.
And the WCSC gives the following advice:
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.
You can read the full recall at the CPSC's website.
What do you think? Are you going to replace your shades right away? Maybe at least take them out of the nursery, if you have them there? My parents' house is full of these kinds of shades, so I think I'll be installing some of those cleats you wrap cords around next time we visit Grandma and Pop-pop.