Lowe’s Recalls 11 Million Shades on Strangling Risk

Lowe’s Cos., the second-largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, recalled 11 million Roman shades and roll-up blinds after reports of two near-strangulations, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The CPSC said Lowe’s, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, will recall all brands it sells of the two types of window coverings, totaling about 6 million Roman shades and 5 million roll-up blinds. Consumers should stop using the products immediately and obtain free repair kits, it said.

Lowe’s is joining a recall orchestrated by the CPSC in December 2009 that covered more than 50 million Roman and roll- up blinds, also because of strangulation hazards, the agency said. That recall, one of the CPSC’s largest, covered all such products sold at retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s Pottery Barn outlets and Restoration Hardware Inc.

Strangulations can occur when a child plays with loose cords, wrapping them around his neck, the agency said. Roman shades, which are drawn up from the bottom into a series of folds, have an inner cord on their back side that’s hazardous, the agency said. Roll-up blinds have a lifting loop that can get loose.

The CPSC’s action last year covered all Roman shades and roll-up blinds sold in the U.S., including those sold at Lowe’s, Karen Cobb, a company spokeswoman, said by telephone. Lowe’s added its name in the announcement today to underscore the strangulation risk, she said.

Safety Awareness

“This is not something Lowe’s had to do, it’s something Lowe’s chose to do,” Cobb said. “We wanted to make sure customers are inspecting window coverings in their homes. This is another way of adding awareness.”

The Roman blinds recalled today were sold at Lowe’s stores and on the company’s website from 1999 through June, the CPSC said. The roll-up blinds were sold from 1999 through January 2005. The coverings sold for between $10 and $1,800.

In July, a 4-year-old boy in Lexington, South Carolina, suffered rope burns to his neck after becoming entangled in a Roman shade cord, the agency said. A 2-year-old boy in Arvada, Colorado, was found with a cord wrapped around his arm and neck in November 2009, it said.

No incidents have been reported with roll-up blinds, the CPSC said.

Consumers can get free repair kits from the Window Covering Safety Council by calling 1-800-506-4636 or visiting its website, http://www.windowcoverings.org.

U.S. regulators received reports of five deaths and 16 near-strangulations in Roman shades since 2006 and three deaths involving roll-up blinds since 2001, the CPSC said in December.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at jplungis@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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