The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) issued a nationwide recall on August 26th, 2009 of about 5.5 million roll-ups and “Roman” window shades sold by major retailers such as IKEA International AS, Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM), and Target Corp. (TGT). The commission is concerned about strangulation risks and deaths associated with these products.

The recalls follow similar recalls earlier this year and last year and are part of the commission’s review of voluntary safety standards for “Roman” shades and rollup blinds, a commission spokeswoman said. About once a month, a child in the U.S. dies from a window cord strangulation, according to the CPSC.

Of six separate recalls, the largest was one urging consumers to stop using 4.2 million roll-up blinds imported by Lewis Hyman Inc. after two infant boys were strangled in the blinds’ lift cord. The shades were sold exclusively at Target stores and on its Web site. Another 763,000 shades imported from China and sold by Target were recalled because of a risk of strangulation.

The CPSC also recalled 120,000 Roman blinds distributed by Ikea and 85,000 Roman shades sold by Williams-Sonoma’s Pottery Barn Kids after some near strangulations.

The CSPC also recalled some blinds made by Vertical Land Inc. and Virginia Iron and Metal Co. Most window blinds have been redesigned over the years to exclude loops in the pull cords, and the CPSC and window coverings manufacturers have ongoing educational programs to retrofit or remove older blinds. But Roman shades and roll-up blinds have been the focus of the recent recalls. Both Roman shades and roll-up blinds typically have lifting loops that help raise the blind as a cord is pulled. The CPSC’s Web site has warnings specifically about such lifting loops.

If you or a loved one has experienced a catastrophic injury due to use of window shades or blinds, contact the Boston law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C.. We will answer your questions and protect your legal rights. Speak with a personal injury lawyer today by calling (617) 742-1900, or toll free outside of Boston, 1-800-545-3732.

About the Author: James Swartz
Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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