Indiana Children at Risk of Strangulation

blinds.jpgThanks to relentless efforts by consumer safety groups and product liability attorneys in Indiana and around the country, there are stricter safety standards in place for children’s products. However, it is important for parents and caregivers to know that their children may also be at danger from other consumer products in the home. Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of up to 50 million rollup blinds and window shades, after a series of strangulation deaths involving little children.

The CPSC has confirmed eight reports of deaths in which children were strangulated by the blind and shade cords since 2001. It has also received reports of at least 16 incidents in which children wrapped the cord around themselves but were rescued in time. This recall is believed to be the second largest American product recall, and the latest in a series of recalls of window coverings. The last massive recall was nine years ago when 85 million blinds had to be recalled for similar hazards.

That means more than 130 million of these products have been recalled for the same hazard over the past decade. As Indiana product liability lawyers who represent victims injured by defective products, we have to wonder why there have been no changes made to the design of these shades and blinds, in spite of problems being identified nearly a decade ago. The CPSC now says it is working together with the Window Coverings Safety Council, a group of window cover importers and manufacturers, to develop safer designs for these products.

The recall is especially important because parents are not likely to think of their window coverings as being particularly dangerous to children. The latest recall has received plenty of press, but typically, parents and caregivers tend to focus more on defective children’s products like cribs, baby hammocks, play yards and toys. However, with eight deaths, it is clear to Indiana product liability attorneys that this is a very serious problem, and a very real danger to children in Indiana homes.

While the CPSC works to develop safer design standards for blinds and shades, we would encourage parents to keep their children safe from these dangers.

• Tuck away loose cords, so they can’t be accessed by kids.
• If possible, replace corded window coverings with safer, cordless shades.
• If you cannot afford to replace your window coverings, ask the retailer or manufacturer for a free repair kit.
• Place cribs, baby beds and baby hammocks away from the window.