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Deaths, Near Strangulations Prompt Blind, Shade Recall

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The strangulation deaths of three children have prompted the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue a massive recall for  defective window shades and blinds.

The CPSC is reminding all consumers to examine all shades and blinds in their homes. If looped pull cords, exposed inner cords, or exposed lifting loops are found and children are in the home or occasionally visit your home, consumer should consider replacing the blinds or shades with products that do not have exposed pull cords or inner cords.

According to the CPSC, the following products  involved in the fatalities are being recalled:

  • 4.2 million One-quarter-inch Oval Roll-up Blinds and 600,000 Woolrich Roman Shades.  These window covers were imported by Lewis Hyman Inc. of Carson, Calif.  The roll up blinds were sold at  Target stores and Target.com from March 2006 to December 2008 for between $25 and $43. The Roman Shades were sold at retail stores nationwide from January 1999 through December 2003 for between $6 and $20. In November 2007, a 1-year-old boy from Norridgewock, Maine became entangled and strangled in the lift cord loop of a roll-up blind that had fallen into his portable crib. In October 2008, a 13-month-old boy from Conway, Ark. was found with his head between the exposed inner cord and the cloth on the backside of a Roman shade. The cord was not looped around the boy’s neck but rather ran from ear to ear and strangled the child.
  • 15,400 Horizontal blinds, 16,400 Vertical blinds, 800 Cellular Shades sold at Vertical Land stores in Panama City and Pensacola, Fla., from January 1992 to December 2006 for between $60 and $200, depending on the size of the blind. In May 2006, CPSC received a report of a 4-year-old girl from Pensacola, Fla., who strangled in the loop of a vertical blind cord that was not attached to the wall or floor.

Other products subject to recall include:

  • 245,000 Roller Shades manufactured by Virginia Iron and Metal Company Inc. (VIMCO) of Ashland, Va. and distributed by Lutron Electronics Co. Inc. of Coopersburg, Pa.   These roller shades were sold through specialty dealers and Expo Design Centers nationwide from January 2000 to April 2009 for between $200 and $2,000 per shade.
  • 163,000 Thermal Sailcloth and Matchstick Bamboo Roman Shades imported by   Victoria Classics of Edison, N.J.  These shades were sold at Target stores and at Target.com nationwide from September 2008 to June 2009 for between $15 and $40.
  • 120,000 MELINA Roman Blinds sold at IKEA stores nationwide from August 2006 to June 2008 for between $20 and $40. CPSC and IKEA received a report of a 2-year-old boy who suffered a near strangulation. His mother found him hanging from the looped bead chain.
  • 85,000 Roman Shades sold through Pottery Barn Kids catalog nationwide and through the firm’s Web site at PotteryBarnKids.com from January 2003 to May 2007 for between $30 and $60. There have been six reports of children becoming entangled in the exposed inner cord on the back of the shade between March 2006 and July 2008. Four children were found with cords entangled around their necks. Scissors were used to release two of these children. Two children were found with red marks around their necks after having freed themselves.

For more information on these recalls, please visit the CPSC’s Web site.

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