Millions of Window Shades and Blinds Recalled Following Child Strangulation Deaths and Injuries

A number of strangulation injuries and deaths involving young children has compelled the Consumer Product Safety Commission and six companies to recall about 5.5 million roll-up window blinds and shades. The companies involved in the recall are Vertical Land Inc., Lutron Shading Solutions, Lewis Hyman Inc., IKEA, Victoria Classics, and Pottery Barn Kids/Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
The largest recall comes from Lewis Hyman. The company is recalling 4.2 million oval roll-up blinds and 600,000 Woolrich Roman shades following two child strangulation deaths. Last year, a 13-month-old boy died after his head got caught between the cloth on the back of one of the shades and the exposed inner cord. The year before, a 1-year-old boy died when he was strangled by one of the blinds’ lifting loops, which had dropped into his crib.

After one mother found a 2-year-old hanging from a Melina Roman blinds’ looped bead chain, IKEA is recalling 120,000 of the blinds that were sold between 2006 and 2008. Fortunately, the mother was able to free the child before he was strangled to death.
Potter Barn Kids/Williams-Sonoma is recalling 85,000 Roman shades following 6 reports of kids getting wrapped in the shades’ exposed inner cords. The strangulation-related accidents occurred between 2006 and 2008. The cords had wrapped around the children’s necks. Fortunately, there were no permanent injuries.
Vertical Land is recalling approximately 15,400 Horizontal Blinds, 800 Cellular Shades, and 16,400 Vertical Blinds. The Horizontal Blinds are missing the inner cord stop device that keep children from being able to pull the cords down. In 2006, a 4-year-old girl was strangled. The vertical blind cord’s loop was not attached to the floor or wall.
Victoria Classics is recalling 163,000 matchstick bamboo shades and thermal sailcloth Roman shades because kids might get hurt or strangled because of the way the shades are designed. Lutron Shading Solutions is recalling 245,000 roller shades because the looped beaded chain poses a strangulation risk. There are, so far, no reports of injuries.
One would think that window blinds and shades are harmless products designed to prevent strangers from looking into a room or to keep a room cool when the heat outside gets too hot. Unfortunately, certain window shades and blinds can pose a child safety hazard if they are not designed with specific safety measures in mind to prevent such deadly accidents from happening.
According to the CPSC, about 300 kids have been involved strangulation accidents involving window cords since 1981—that’s about 1 fatality a month. The Oregon Health Sciences University says that only 1 in 2 deaths are reported. In 50% of the reported cases, children (8 months – age 4) were discovered hanging in the cords’ loops. Other strangulation incidents involved the pull cords wrapping around the kids’ necks.
Poorly designed products that come with hidden hazards can be fatal to consumers—especially young children. While recalling the products is a good step toward fixing the problem, it won’t remedy the loss for the families whose children have died because of a defective window shade or another faulty consumer product.
Please contact our products liability law firm today about your injuries to children case.
Children continue dying as window coverings causing strangulation stay up, KATU, August 28, 2009
Six companies recall window blinds and shades after deaths and near-strangulations, Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Recalls, CPSC
Parents for Window Blind Safety

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