Nearly Half a Million Window Blinds Recalled After Death of Two-Year-Old

Blind Express of Livonia, Michigan, is voluntarily recalling more than 450,000 blinds after the reported death of a two-year-old child from Commerce Township, Michigan. The child reportedly became strangled in the loop of a vertical blind cord which was manufactured by the company.

Window Blinds RecalledThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (www.cpsc.gov) states that the recall includes approximately 315,000 horizontal blinds and 139,000 custom-made vertical blinds. The blinds affected by the recall were sold in specialty window-covering stores in the states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. The product was sold from January 1995 through December 2011.

The issue stems from the design of the cord mechanism in the blinds. The vertical blind cords form a loop that hangs freely and is not attached to the floor or wall. A child can get caught in this loop, which is sometimes weighted with a device at the bottom of the loop, posing a risk for injury or strangulation.

The custom horizontal blinds pose a different type of risk. These blinds do not have an inner cord stop. Without the cord stop, a child can access the inner cord, pull it out and potentially become entangled in the cord, leading to the potential for strangulation.

Hundreds of children are injured or strangled each year in the cords of window blinds. Blinds which do not have a cord-tensioning device that is firmly attached to the wall or floor, as well as horizontal blinds without installed inner cord stop devices, pose the greatest risk to young children.

Consumer groups urge the public to no longer use older, unsafe window coverings. Newer products generally have the necessary safety devices built in. Cordless devices are encouraged whenever small children have access to the window coverings.

Consumers should be aware of the risks of blind cord injury to small children. There are several safety measures which can keep children safe, including:

  • Install cordless window coverings
  • Replace older blinds with newer, safer designs
  • Move children’s beds and toys away from windows and window cords
  • Keep all cords out of reach of children

Additionally, consumers who have installed the affected blinds should stop using them immediately until a repair can be performed. Repair kits are available through the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) (http://www.windowcoverings.org) at no cost to the consumer.

A repair kit involves retrofitting blinds with cord stops and tie-down devices or eliminating loops altogether. Instructions are available should consumers choose to repair their blinds rather than install newer, cordless window coverings.

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