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Massachusetts Products Liability?: Lowell Toddler Nearly Strangled by Window Blinds that are Part of Latest Ikea Recall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Ikea are recalling 3.4 million shades and window blinds. The recall, which involves Roman shades, roll-up blinds, and roller blinds that were sold at IKEA stores in the US between January 1998 and June 2009, comes following news that an 18-month Lowell, Massachusetts boy nearly died from strangulation.

The blinds are a strangulation hazard for young kids because their necks can get tangled in the cords or chains. The roller blinds have a beaded chain that isn’t always attached to the floor or wall with a tension device. Meantime, the roll-up blinds have adjustment loops that can prove dangerous in the event that they end up sliding off the blind. As for the Roman shades, the inner cord and the back of the shade is a place where a young child’s neck can get easily caught. Some of the shades may have pull chains that are not attached to the floor or wall.

According to the CPSC, about 500 children have been strangled on the cords of shades and blinds in the last two decades. It was just last year that retailers voluntarily recalled all Roman shades and roll-up blinds-that’s about 50 million products.

Consumers should stop using the blinds right away and send them back to IKEA for a full refund. The danger that window blinds and roman shades continue to pose to young children is no joke-as evidenced by the too many fatalities that have resulted. You may be able to sue negligent manufacturer for Boston products liability if a product defect caused personal injury or wrongful death.

In the meantime, if you have window blinds or shades in your home, here are a number of safety guidelines to follow (Selectblinds.com):

• Keep large furniture that kids can climb on top off away from windows, blinds, and shades.
• Make sure any cords are kept out of children’s grasp.
• Cut cords so that they are short, wrap them around a cord cleat, tie knots in them, tie the cords together, or keep them anchored or attached to a the ground or the wall.
• Lock cords on shades and blinds so that they don’t fall low enough that they are easy for kids to reach.
• Think about buying shades and blinds that don’t have cords.

Ikea recalls over 3 million window blinds, shades, AP/Google, June 10, 2010
IKEA Recalls Roller Blinds, all Roman Blinds and all Roll-Up Blinds Due to Risk of Strangulation, CPSC, June 10, 2010
Child Safety and Blinds, Selectblinds.com

Related Web Resources:

Ikea

Cords on window blinds can be strangling threat to kids, USA Today, November 30, 2009