We have long been following and writing about the dangers and countless recalls associated with window coverings. Now, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Health Canada (HC), and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) have joined together and are calling for strong and comprehensive international safety standards on window coverings from manufacturers and standards organizations.
The international, multi-lateral call for immediate action (can be accessed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10265.pdf) is the first time the three safety agenciesâ€”which jointly represent consumers in 29 countriesâ€”have collaborated to demand strong, worldwide safety standards on a specific product. A coordinated effort by the three safety agencies and standards organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe could lead to cost-effective product development and testing and manufacturing processes in the global economy while also putting the safety of children first.
Corded window coverings cause strangulation deaths and significant injuries in children worldwide. In the United States, CPSC staff is aware of 120 fatalities and 113 non-fatal incidents related to corded window coverings since 1999. Health Canada has received reports of 28 strangulation deaths and 23 near-strangulations linked to corded window coverings since 1986. In seven Member States of Europe, 90 children were reported to have visited hospital emergency departments for injuries caused by corded window coverings in 2002. More recently, at least six children in Europe have died from corded window coverings since 2008.
Since December 2009, CPSC has recalled tens of millions of corded Roman shades and roll-up blinds (announcement can be accessed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml10/10077.html) sold by a variety of manufacturers and retailers. These window coverings pose a serious risk of strangulation to young children. CPSC continues to urge parents and caregivers to make sure that there are no accessible cords on the front, side or back of their window coverings.
CPSC recommends the use of cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit.
Yesterday we wrote that Chicology added its name to the retailers joining the voluntary recall in December 2009. Last week, we wrote that IKEA Home Furnishings, of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, issued a massive recall of 3,360,000 Roller Blinds, all Roman Blinds, and all Roll-Up Blinds due to risk of strangulation.
About 790,000 Roman blinds were recalled in November 2008 (recall notice can be accessed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09050.html) and August 2009 (recall notice can be accessed at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09325.html); about 533,000 Roller blinds were recalled in October 2009 (http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10022.html).