Hundreds of millions of window blinds have been recalled for repair because of the risk of strangulation to young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today.
The consumer watchdog said since 1991, it had received reports of 130 strangulations involving blind cords. Of these, 114 were caused by the outer pull cords and 16 children were strangled by the inner cords that hold the blind slats.
The recall, made by the CPSC and the Window Covering Safety Council, involves millions of blinds with pull cords and inner cords that can form a loop and cause strangulation.
“We estimate there are potentially over 800 million window blinds bought within the past 10 years that could be involved in the recall,” CPSC spokesman Ken Giles told Reuters.
About 85 million window blinds are sold each year in the United States, Giles said.
The CPSC said in 1995 it had worked with the window blind industry to redesign new blinds that eliminate the outer loop on the end of pull cords and that free repair kits had been provided so that consumers could fix their blinds.
Last year, the CPSC did a new investigation of deaths caused by blind cords and found that children could also become entangled in the inner cords used to raise the slats of the blinds.
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 were strangled when they pulled on the inner cords of the blinds.
The strangulation victims ranged in age from nine months to 17 months, the CPSC said.
Safer Blinds Available
As a result of the new investigation, the CPSC said the industry had now designed window blinds so that the inner cords could not form a loop if pulled by a young child.
Giles said people with blinds should telephone the Window Covering Safety Council toll free at 800-506-4636 to get a free repair kit for each set of blinds in the home. The repair can be done in minutes without removing the blinds.
The CPSC strongly advised parents to keep blind cords and chains permanently out of the reach of young children and never to place a crib within reach of a window blind.