The Checkout

IKEA Recalls Roman Shades After Death of Toddler

Annys Shin

Federal safety officials are expected to warn consumers today about an emerging hidden hazard: Roman Blinds or Shades.

They typically have two inner cords, one on each side that run in and out of the panel and allow the shade to open and close. They are separate from the operating cords, which have some kind of pull at the end. The inner cords can be pulled to form a loop that can then form a noose around a child's neck.

roman shade

Strangulation has long been a potential hazard with blinds that come with looped operating cords, but did not pose a problem with roman shades until recently when they became cheaper and more ubiquitous, said Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman Julie Vallese.

Once a pricey often custom-made item that can cost hundreds of dollars per window, Roman Blinds or Shades can now be found for less than $10. As they've gone up in more homes, the CPSC has seen an increase in the number of accidents and deaths involving them, Vallese said.

Global home furnishings behemoth IKEA today is recalling about 670,000 Iris and Alvine Roman Blinds in white after the death of a 1-year-old Connecticut girl. She was in a playpen placed below a lowered Roman Shade when she was strangled after her neck was caught in an inner cord. She was found in the playpen partially suspended with the cord wrapped twice around her neck.

About 670,000 of the shades were sold at Ikea stores in the United States from July 2005 to June 2008 for between $7 and $30. About 4.8 million more were sold overseas.

The company is offering a full refund.

Green Mountain Vista Inc., of Williston, Vt. is recalling for repair about 7,300 insulated black-out roller shades and insulated Roman Shades after a 2-year-old Connecticut girl suffered a near strangulation. She was standing on a radiator, slipped a loose bead cord loop around her neck, then slipped off the radiator. Her 5-year-old brother lifted her so she could get free. She has since recovered.

The shades were sold through The Linen Source, Target.com, Ann & Hope and other retailers from June 2005 through Sept. 2008 for between $60 and $200.

For more information, go to www.cpsc.gov. And check your window shades!

By Annys Shin |  November 20, 2008; 7:00 AM ET Annys Shin , Consumer Alerts
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