This week, the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) announced the recall of millions of Roman shades and roll-up blinds due to the risk of strangulation to young children from the defective products. Massachusetts consumers are urged to take immediate measures to eliminate the risks to young children.
Since 2006, the CPSC has received reports of 5 wrongful deaths and 16 near strangulations involving Roman shades and 3 wrongful deaths since 2001 in roll-up blinds. In the case of Roman shades, children may place their necks between the exposed cord and the fabric on the back of the shade, or they may pull the cord out and wrap it around the neck. With the roll-up blinds, children may become entangled in the lifting loop on the side of the blind.
These defective products have been sold at a wide variety of retailers in Massachusetts, from Wal-Mart to Pottery Barn to ACE Hardware, to name but a few. If you have either type in your home, please contact the WCSC at its website or at (800) 506-4636 to receive a free repair kit.
The CPSC and the WCSC has also provided safety tips that apply to all window coverings, not just those involved in the recall. These include inspection of all shades and blinds in the home to make sure there are no loose or accessible cords (in fact, cordless window coverings are recommended where children live or visit), keeping cribs, beds, and furniture away from windows, and installing tension devices on looped chains or cords to keep them taut. Complete information is available at the CPSC website.
If you need assistance with a case involving personal injury or wrongful death resulting from a defective shade or other defective product, please contact the attorneys at the Boston firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck. You can reach us toll free at 800-379-1244.