New Jersey Company Expands Blind Recall Following Death of Toddler

Hanover Direct Inc., a Weehawken, NJ company, has agreed to recall approximately 495,000 roman shades and 28,500 blinds following reports of the accidental death of a 22-month-old toddler from Cedar Falls, IO. Meanwhile, the blind industry is working to develop better standards for manufacturing safer window coverings in an effort to protect children from similar accidents. (1)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that the young boy was discovered by his father last May trapped in the cord of a roman shade. The toddler was rushed to the hospital, where he later died. It is estimated that one child dies each month in similar accidents. (1)

The problem is that young children can get tangled easily in the cords used to pull the shades up and down. The CPSC estimated that about 250 young children, including infants, have died from strangulation involving blind cords since 1990,. (2)

Earlier this month, another 22-month-old toddler from Burlington Township was critically injured after getting entangled in a window blind cord. The young girl was discovered by her mother and taken by medevac to Cooper University Hospital in Camden. (3)

Hanover Direct, parent company of Domestications, The Company Store and Company Kids, (1) is one of several companies who voluntarily agreed to recall their blinds and roman shades in 2009 following a March 2008 incident in which a 2-year-old Ocean View, DE, boy became entangled in roman shade cords after climbing on his toy chest to look out the window. Fortunately, that young boy did not sustain permanent injuries from this incident. (2)

At a meeting this month, the chairman of the CPSC addressed consumer advocates and officials from the window covering industry appealing to blind manufacturers to move quickly to approve new safety rules. It is expected that the current safety standards pertaining to roman shades will be used as a model for these new rules and will be expanded to cover other types of blinds. Those standards call for roman shades either to be cordless, or to have cords inaccessible to children, or cords that cannot form a hazardous loop in which a child can become entangled. (1)

(1) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/weehawken_window_shades_compan.html

(2) http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11036.html

(3) http://www.nj.com/mercer/indexssf/2010/11/child_critical_aftter_accident.html