The US Consumer Products Safety has recalled over 50 million window blinds due to the possibility of children strangling on the exposed cords. Health Canada has not issued a similar recall but has issued a warning and is urging consumers to follow the U.S. program and have their blinds, made prior to 2001, retrofitted. If you have these products in your home you need to know what the problem is and how to fix it. At the end of this column will be the list of websites for you to check.
Blinds and shades that have any cords are suspect. If a cord can be manipulated to form a large loop ( through which a child’s head could fit), it is considered a candidate for retrofit. The solution the retrofit kit provides is to remove all the cords and the blind is thereafter raised by feeding each ring ( where the cords used to pass) onto a metal shower ring. While this will work it is a very unwieldy fix. You have to get behind the blind in order to feed the rings onto the shower ring and each column of rings needs to be done separately and you do this each time you want to raise or lower the blinds.
If you don’t want to remove the cords, you can make the blinds somewhat safer. Please move children’s beds away from windows that have these blinds. When the shade is in the up position the pull cords should be firmly attached to the wall with a cord cleat, or fastened above the blind, out of the reach of children. Make sure the tassel on the pull cord is of the ‘breakaway’ style. When the blinds are in the down position, tie all the pull cords into a knot at the top of the cords, close to the head-rail where the cords come away from the blind. This will prevent the cords on the back of the blind from being pulled into a loop if a child tugs on the bottom of the cord.
If you have a fabric Roman blind I can do an alteration so the cords on the back are partially concealed and I have breakaway tassels you can install.
Free Retrofit kit: www.Windowcoverings.org
Information on the U.S. Recall: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10073.html
To see the retrofit kit: http://www.windowcoverings.org/how_to_retrofit.html - click on the ‘Repair Roman Blinds’ at the bottom of the page to see the kit install instructions.
Information on the Canadian position: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/house-domes/decor/blinds-toles-eng.php