IKEA, the Swedish furniture retailer, recalled 3.36 million window blinds after a child died and two others were almost strangled, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada said. The retailer is recalling roller, Roman and roll-up blinds, the agencies said in a statement issued today. In each type, children may get their necks tangled in loops or chains that are used to raise or lower the window coverings. Consumers should immediately stop using all Roman and all roll-up blinds and return them to IKEA for a full refund, the agency said.
IKEA sold the blinds in the U.S. and Canada from January 1998 through June 2009 for $5 to $55, the agencies said. Consumers were directed by the agency to call IKEA toll- free at 1-888-966-4532.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Ace Hardware Corp. were part of a larger recall of 50 million Roman shades and roll-up blinds in December. In 1994 and 2000, Consumer Protection Safety Commission announced recalls for horizontal blinds to undergo repairs to prevent strangulation. In October 2009, CPSC issued a new safety alert to warn parents about the dangers associated with window coverings.
To help prevent child strangulation in window coverings, CPSC and the Window Covering Safety Council urge parents and caregivers to follow these guidelines:
•Examine all shades and blinds in the home. Make sure there are no accessible cords on the front, side, or back of the product. CPSC and the WCSC recommend the use of cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit.
•Do not place cribs, beds, and furniture close to the windows because children can climb on them and gain access to the cords.
•Make loose cords inaccessible.
•If the window shade has looped bead chains or nylon cords, install tension devices to keep the cord taut. Roller blinds that don’t have a tension device attached to the chain shouldn’t be used.
Parents for Window Blind Safety, an advocacy group founded by a mother whose 1-year-old daughter was strangled by a cord in 2002, states that five children have been killed by window cords so far this year, after 13 died last year and 22 in 2008, Kaiser said. Last month, Maryland became the first U.S. state to adopt a law banning from foster homes and day-care centers window coverings with cords, according to the group’s founder.
For more information on window covering safety, visit http://www.windowcoverings.org/.