WASHINGTON — Six companies are recalling millions of window blinds and shades, following the deaths of three children who got caught in cords that help the coverings move up and down.
The recalls, announced Wednesday by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, involve some big-name companies, including Pottery Barn Kids and IKEA as well as smaller companies that sold their window covers at retailers such as Target.
No deaths were associated with the blinds and shades from Pottery Barn Kids and IKEA, but CPSC says there have been six reports of children becoming entangled in the inner cord of the Pottery Barn Kids shades.
CPSC says the three deaths, which date back to 2006, involved blinds or shades made or imported by Vertical Land Inc., of Panama City Beach, Fla., and Lewis Hyman Inc., in Carson., Calif.
A one-year-old was killed in 2007 when he became entangled and strangled in the lift cord loop of a roll-up blind from Lewis Hyman that had fallen into his portable crib, CPSC said. The company is recalling about 4.2 million of the blinds.
It's also recalling more than a half-million roman shades following the strangulation death of a 13-month-old boy last year. The child was found with his head caught between the exposed inner cords and cloth on the backside of the shade, the agency said.
Vertical Land is recalling more than 32,000 blinds and shades following the death of a four-year-old girl. Her death was first reported to CPSC in 2006. The girl was strangled in the loop of a vertical blind cord that was not attached to the wall or floor.
The commission's new chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, says the blinds and shades pose a hidden hazard.
"I urge all parents to inspect their blinds and shades immediately and obtain the free repair or refund that the companies are offering to consumers," she said.
The Vertical Land blinds and shades were sold in Florida from 1992 through 2006. Customers can contact the company for a free retrofit kit.
The Lewis Hyman oval roll-up blinds were sold at retail stores from 1999 through 2003, and the Woolrich roman shades were sold exclusively at Target stores from between 2006 and 2008. Customers can contact the company for a repair kit if the blinds don't have release clips, and for a free repair kit for the roman shades.
The other recalls involve:
Pottery Barn Kids/Williams-Sonoma., Inc of San Francisco. About 85,000 roman shades with exposed inner cords on the backside are being recalled. Four kids were found with cords entangled around their necks. Two children had red marks around their necks after having freed themselves. CPSC says there were no permanent injuries.
Pottery Barn Kids customers should stop using the shades and can get a merchandise card for the purchase value.
IKEA Home Furnishings, of Conshohocken, Pa. About 120,000 MELINA roman blinds are being recalled after a report of a 2-year-old boy who suffered a near strangulation. His mother found him hanging from the looped bead chain on the blind, said CPSC.
The blinds were sold at IKEA stores between 2006 and 2008. Consumers should return them to IKEA for a full refund.
About 163,000 Thermal Sailcloth and Matchstick Bamboo roman shades sold at Target stores between 2008 and 2009. They were imported by Victoria Classics of Edison, N.J., and the agency says they have exposed inner cords that could be dangerous. Consumers can contact the company for a repair kit.
About 245,000 roller shades distributed by Lutron Electronics Co. Inc., of Coopersburg, Pa., and sold at specialty dealers and Expo Design Centers from 2000 through April of this year. The shades, the CPSC says, have a looped bead chain that should be attached to the floor or wall. If it is not, customers can contact Lutron for a repair kit.
On the Net: Consumer Product Safety Commission: www.cpsc.gov