Pretty Much All Roman And Roll-Up Blinds Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council have announced a “recall to repair” of all Roman shades and roll-up shades, after multiple reports of deaths and near strangulations in recent years. If you’ve got kids in your house and you use either type of window covering, visit www.windowcoverings.org or call 800-506-4636 to receive a free kit that will let you retrofit the shades and blinds with clips.

Here’s a video from the Window Covering Safety Council explaining the problem. It should also probably be recalled, because I nearly strangled myself while watching it.



“Window Covering Safety Council Recalls to Repair All Roman and Roll-Up Blinds Due to Risk of Strangulation” [CPSC]

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  1. MikeM_inMD says:

    I never thought Roman shades would pose a hazard. I have some, but no small children. I might send away for the kit for the one room where small kids *might* be in the next couple of years.

  2. The Cheat says:

    What a ridiculous video. Seriously.

  3. nakkypoo says:

    You’re right Chris, I nearly strangled myself after watching that video.

  4. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    We got some of the free kits from the window covering council for the (venetian) blinds in rooms the baby won’t be in much and/or the blinds are well out of reach, but we’ve also replaced four blinds now (living room, 2 in baby’s room, one at the top of the stairs) with honeycomb blinds with NO cord, where you lift or pull on the bottom of the blind alone. The insulation on these things is INCREDIBLE, worth every freaking penny going into cold Midwestern winter where they’re blocking drafts and keeping my upstairs MUCH warmer, and that’s before I see how much they decrease my heating bill!

    We got two light blocking ones that are generic, and two light-filtering ones that are name brand. The mechanism on the name brand ones is a lot sturdier, but both sets work fine. (The generics were about 2/3 of the cost of the name brand, but the name brand is eligible for tax rebates if you get them with side rails.)

    Anyway, I can vouch for the free repair kits from the window coverings people, but if you’ve got older window coverings that need retrofitting, it’s worth looking into upgrading, especially with the energy efficiency tax rebates!

    • Benny Gesserit says:

      Wait? A kit to fix them? I thought all you had to do was cut the “thingy” off the end of the cord – two straight cords without joins = safe kids = WIN.

      Optionally you could add a “thingy” to the end of each line for aesthetic reasons and give the cat something to play with.

      • Benny Gesserit says:

        And I’m aware the video may have explained the kits. I couldn’t get past the cartoon baby at the beginning.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        For venetian blinds that are older than a certain year (I don’t remember what year, but mine are them), there’s also a “stop” so that the strings can’t roll all the way up, which can also be an entrapment hazard in some cases. But yeah, the little dingies for the end. Some of my blinds need that tiny weight or the strings end up in crazy places that I, being short, can’t reach.

  5. kaceetheconsumer says:

    Okay, but what do I do about my four year old who keeps moving her bed over to her curtains so she can stand on it to better see the dragon motif on them in the dark…and then falls and hits her head…and then whines at me because it’s all MY fault for turning off the lights so she had to do all of this in the first place. When she should have been sleeping. *headdesk*

    Not that I’m knocking the safety issue of dangling cords…it’s just that clearly, my kid is going to be a hazard to herself until someone sends me a retrofit kit that somehow makes her stay in bed in a way that won’t get CPS involved (because don’t think I haven’t made Velcro and staple gun jokes with the other mommies I know….and they agree…we’re all very evil…).

    • shepd says:

      L-Brackets + #12 screws. About $2 at your local hardware store. Problem solved.

      If you’re in an apartment, remember to buy a $5 tub of putty before you leave.

      • kaceetheconsumer says:

        That’s what we did with her change table/drawers. But if we do it with the bed, it’ll be a headache later when toys get stuck under the back corner.

        And we’re actually getting her a new bed in January…but even then, if we bolt it down, she’ll move other stuff to pile up to get where she wants to go.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Get a heavier bed or bolt the bed to the wall, prison-style.

      • kaceetheconsumer says:

        Then she’d just find something else to move/pile up.

        It’s like raising frickin’ MacGyver over here.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Bolt everything to the floor/wall? Move her bed to the window so she can examine to her hearts content (though…I mean, it’s not like the motif changes here. Maybe you need to explain that the dragons stay the same day after day), then pad the entire floor in pillows. Or…if it gets to be a big problem, take down the dragons. That’s right, take down the dragons. If she’s hitting her head a lot, though, that might explain why she wants to examine the dragons night after night.

          • kaceetheconsumer says:

            I’d take down the dragons before bolting everything down.

            Besides, even if all the furniture was bolted, what about the stuffed toys? Or worse, the Lego?

            The point is less about her doing this and more that a kid who wants to get into something will find a way, and the best one can do is make it as safe as possible and then let the little beast learn consequences of things like gravity on their own.

        • henrygates3 says:

          Bolt down the child.

    • halothane says:

      straight jacket.

    • Squeezer says:

      grow some balls and tell your kid not to move her bed, and if she moves it again, spank the shit out of her for disobeying you. do that a couple of times and i promise you she won’t move her bed again.

  6. Garybaldy says:

    So eloquently put over at giz,

    “It would be easier to just recall all babies instead of all the products that could potentially harm them.”

    • windycitygirl68 says:

      I propose recalling all the parents who can’t properly monitor their children or get rid of obvious hazards.

  7. ldavis480 says:

    In other news … there’s a Window Covering Safety Council.

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      Precisely my first thought!!

      2nd thought: “Industry-wide, voluntary corrective action plan” . . . waaaaay less douchey than saying “recall”

      3rd thought: tremendously disturbed by the fact that the video baby a) is trolling for ‘the ladies’; and b) thinks kung-fu kicks are the right ‘moves’ to put on said ladies.

      So tempted to tell them I am highly offended by their perverted domestic-abuser-in-training cartoon spokesbaby, just to see if I can get it to the “taking it seriously” level.

    • davere says:

      I wonder how often they meet and what their agenda consists of. Apparently they got to the strangulation topic recently. What will be discussed next? We need someone present at their next meeting so that they can report back.

  8. ldavis480 says:

    In other news … there’s a Window Covering Safety Council.

  9. mannyvel says:

    The CPSC has discovered what did the Romans in all those years ago. Everyone thought it was the lead…who knew that it was the blinds?

  10. consumed says:

    Ironically, tonight on CNBC they were doing a special on Walmart and they were showing the Chinese sweatsh^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hfactories where these blinds are assembled. They were discussing the ways in which Walmart pressures its suppliers to get the product to the lowest cost possible, and showing the Chinese slav^H^H^H^Hworkers slapping these roman blinds together. It looked like the workers were trying as hard as possible not to mess up as they rapidly and haphazardly shoved the pieces into the ropes that hold the blinds together. How strange that CNBC was showing this special on the same day the blinds are recalled.

  11. tnayen says:

    I can’t fault the blinds when the parents are inept. If your kid is mobile but still exploring. Watch them. “My kid fell on an overturned high heal shoe. Recall all shoes with heels!”

  12. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    In other news, parents who don’t know how to toddler-proof their homes. Granted, there’s ALWAYS the POSSIBILITY of something going wrong. Babies/puppies/kittens have that innate ability to sniff out the most dangerous thing in the house and bee-line for it despite your best efforts to steer them clear of it.

    As far as blinds are concerned, whatever happened to a little knot tomfoolery? That’s how my parents got me over my strangulation habit. Can’t get strangled on what you can’t reach. I realize that for some shades this won’t work (like the ones pictured above) but the majority of the reports i’ve seen have been from children getting tangled up in the pull cords that control the height of the shades, not the shades themselves.

    Is it odd that the US is the only country this seems to be a problem for? Oh, don’t forget the fingerectomy strollers that are sold all over the world as well but only seemed to need to be recalled in the US. Hey parents, those little squishy pink things? Those are called fingers. Your children need them. Quit squashing them.

  13. ckaught78 says:

    Every blind I have purchased over the years has had a giant warning label on the cord. I don’t think it is news that someone could potentially strangle themselves with these things. Before you know it they will be recalling plastic bags.

  14. MyTQuinn says:

    Anything and everything can be a hazard to a baby or toddler. I’m sure there are plenty of items that have injured or killed even more children in the same amount of time. Apparently the only way to make some kids safe is to recall their parents.

  15. vesper says:

    My mom always told me, “God gave you brains, don’t do something stupid”, and that was that. lol.

  16. vesper says:

    My mom always told me, “God gave you brains, don’t do something stupid”, and that was that. lol.

  17. vesper says:

    Typical of the Romans. Always trying to hang someone.

  18. osiris73 says:

    My son at the age of oh… 18 months maybe… managed to reach way out of his crib and grab the blinds. We always put the cord you pull on up over the little hook that hold the stick thingy that you twist to open the blinds. We thought we were safe. There was no way he could reach the cord. But when my son grabbed the blinds, he grabbed the cord that goes through the blinds. He managed to pull that out, thus pulling the blinds up and the cord you pull in, giving him enough cord to wrap around his neck. It always took him a long time to get to sleep for his nap. Luckily, I noticed that he stopped making noise far sooner than normal. I opened the door and saw him propped up against his crib with the cord wrapped around his neck. His face was blue and he was just passing out as I came in.
    Had I not noticed the lack of noise, he’d certainly be a statistic right now.

  19. Colonel Jack O'neill says:

    When are parents gonna take responsibility for they own kids, and stop trying to blame other people.

    That’s only about 16 kids that been strangled and 8 that been killed, that been reported since 2006, and how many before that. That’s 8 million blinds sold a year, that’s less then a 1% chance of a baby dying.

  20. Rachacha says:

    The issue here is awareness. Most people are aware of the hazards associated with blind cords dangling at the wall, however consumers do not necessarially concern themselves with the loops that are created on the blinds behind and under the fabric which is what this recall is attempting to bring attention to. The anouncement of this recall and the size of the recall creates the news headlines and brings it to the attention of consumers.

    Parents can childproof their homes all they want, but it is difficult to put yourself into the mindset of an infant or toddler that is discovering the magical powers of gravity and learning cause and effect for the first time and is naturally curious.

    Some here have suggested that parents take responsibility, I don’t believe that any group has come out and is blaming anyone, they just want to bring attention to the matter to alert consumers, and convince manufacturers that they need to develop new construction meathods for their products to increase safety and minimize the chance of injury.

    • thisistobehelpful says:

      It is common sense for you take all small and dangling things out of reach of children such as table runners, table cloths, pot handles, lamp cords attached to heavy lamps that aren’t against walls, etc. If you are supposed to keep wires away from your chlidren why wouldn’t you assume other string things are also supposed to be kept away?

      • Rachacha says:

        The concern with these blinds is not the pull strings, but the strings that run behind the blind itself and lift (or lower) the fabric when you pull on the string. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/34436509#34438187

        Common sense certainly comes into play, and part of common sense is education. Pointing out the hidden hazards to people who may not consider the lift cord as a potential point of strangulation

        • thisistobehelpful says:

          Well considering anything with a space is seen as an opportunity to stick your head through it when you’re a kid I consider that common sense. I mean my brother stuck his head in a bench when he was three and had to get the jaws of life to take him out. The preschool he was at chose bad furniture to have near dumb kids cuz it had a space big enough for a body part to go in. Don’t get things with slats. Kids stick their heads between bannister supports, chair legs, table sections, chair sections, shelf sides, etc. Kids stick their heads places they shouldn’t stick their heads. To me that is common sense that if there’s a space the kid will stick SOMETHING into it, and probably it be their head if they can get it including blinds.

          I agree that the inner strings might not be the first thing you think of, but if you are getting shades that have string pulls you are still getting the wrong thing. Are there window dressings with strings inside but no string pull outside? Probably not because the string is meant for drawing them. Inner strings since necessitate string pulls. Things without strings don’t. Kind of like for scissors to be scissors they are sharpened blades stuck together. If they were two blunt bits stuck together they would be tongs or something.

  21. halothane says:

    I’ve got a simple fix for the blind strangulation problem. It’s called… not having blinds. They do make these craaaaazy alternatives called, uh, curtains.

    • Rachacha says:

      Or, you can not have children. If you don’t have kids, then there will be no more little buggers around to get caught in blinds or refrigerators, suck on lead paint or choke on a small button. Problem solved!

      /sarcasm

  22. thisistobehelpful says:

    Ok stuff like this kills me. 200 deaths out of 58 MILLION. .0003% of customers could not figure out how to operate the blinds or kid proof their house. Kid-proofing your house involves getting rid of things like this. Switch to roll up shades or curtains with no tiebacks with a lightweight rod. Kids are ignorant until they learn and they learn a lot by trial and error. Knowing this means you as a parent should be looking out for stupid/dangerous things your kid might do. This is a REALLY standard kid-proofing thing like sticking those plastic dealies in your outlets, putting childproof covers on your doorknobs, childproof cabinet locks and KEEPING DANGEROUS STUFF OUT OF REACH.

    That is not a faulty blind, that is shit happens. It’s tragic, but shit happens.

    • thisistobehelpful says:

      Oh wait I was off by my numbers. I can’t remember/find where I got those from. It’s even worse if it’s 8 out of 50 million. It’s not the blinds it’s the people.

  23. SyntaxError says:

    Instead of constant product recalls, how about we just remove all safety labels from all products and let nature take it’s course. The herd needs thinning anyway, especially since it’s overpopulated with idiots.

    When I was 4 years old, I tried to swing like Tarzan from the cord of the metal blinds in the bathroom. I crashed and the blinds came down on top of me, giving me a tiny scar next to my eye which is still visible today, over 30 years later.

    There was no media frenzy, no product recall, no accusations of bad parenting, etc that we see today when some moron child gets himself hurt doing something he shouldn’t have been doing.

    I was taken to the hospital for a butterfly bandage and the blinds were put back up. End of story.

    And I never tried to play Tarzan on the blinds again.

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