Posted by: Diane Capuano
The window coverings industry made national headlines last week with the voluntary recall of millions of Roman shades and roll-up blinds due to a child strangulation risk. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Window Covering Safety Council jointly announced the recall. Complete press releases can be found on the CPSC and WCSC sites.
The national recall impacts 50 million blinds and shades. Major TV and cable news networks as well as newspapers, websites and blogs reported on the recall. NBC Nightly News’ anchor Brian Williams reported that it was “one of the largest product recalls in American history” before introducing an interesting analysis of whether the recall was a case of government overreach.
The CPSC received reports of five deaths and 16 near strangulations since 2006 in Roman shades and three deaths since 2001 in roll-up blinds. Strangulations in Roman shades can occur when a child places his/her neck between the exposed inner cord and the fabric on the backside of the blind or when a child pulls the cord out and wraps it around his/her neck. Strangulations in roll-up blinds can occur if the lifting loop slides off the side of the blind and a child’s neck becomes entangled on the free-standing loop or if a child places his/her neck between the lifting loop and the roll-up blind material.
Comment from Hunter Douglas
Paint & Decorating Retailer magazine requested comment on the recall from Hunter Douglas, the industry’s largest manufacturer of custom window coverings. “Hunter Douglas supports the recent CPSC recall to repair Roman shades and roll-up blinds, as our goal has always been to make window coverings safer,” stated Joe Jankoski, the company’s VP of Merchandising as well as a trustee of the WCSC.
Jankoski cited Hunter Douglas’ investment in product safety, which has produced Vignette® Modern Roman shades, the industry’s only Roman shade with no exposed rear cords; the Break-Thru® Safety Tassel for horizontal blinds; the introduction of a complete line of LiteRise® cordless operating systems for several shades and blinds; a broad line of products that use the UltraGlide® retractable cord operating system; and a full-line of PowerRise® cordless battery powered products.
“An important part of window covering safety is consumer awareness,” Jankoski said. “To improve window covering cord safety when young children are present, we urge all window covering retailers to discuss the issue of child safety with all clients to ensure they make the right product choice.”
Tags: window coverings