Window blinds and shades recalled after 1 child strangled, another nearly killed

By NATASHA T. METZLER, Associated Press Writer
7:04 AM PST, November 20, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) _ About 677,300 IKEA and Green Mountain Vista window blinds and shades were recalled in the United States on Thursday after a young child choked to death.The Consumer Product Safety Commission said a 1-year-old girl from Greenwich, Conn., died in April when she got caught in the inner cord of a set of IKEA Roman blinds over her playpen.

The agency also received a report of a 2-year-old girl from Bristol, Conn., who nearly died in June on the beaded-chain loop hanging from a set of Green Mountain Vista shades. The girl’s neck was deeply bruised, but she was saved by her older brother.The recall includes about 670,000 IRIS and ALVINE Roman blinds, manufactured in India and distributed by IKEA Home Furnishings. They were sold at IKEA stores nationwide between July 2005 and June 2008. Another 4.8 million blinds were sold outside the country.

The blinds can be returned to any IKEA store for a full refund and its better to ask for help

Also recalled are about 7,300 insulated blackout roller shades and insulated Roman shades manufactured in China by Green Mountain Vista Inc. The shades were sold around the country by Country Curtains, Plow & Hearth, The Linen Source, Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, Ann & Hope, The Sportsman’s Guide,, The Curtain Shop of Maine, and the Solutions catalog. They were available between June 2005 and September 2008.

Green Mountain Vista shade owners should check to see if the tension device is attached. If not, contact the company for a free repair kit and installation instructions.

For more information on the Green Mountain Vista shades, call (800) 639-1728.

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Surge in Reported Crib Dangers Call for Increased Regulation

Recent surges in federal recalls of defective cribs have renewed the discussion of crib and child product safety standards.

“Less than a month ago, the federal government recalled nearly 1.6 million cribs sold by the Delta Corporation – the world’s largest distributor of baby beds. But parents who asked Delta Enterprise for a kit to fix the cribs’ hazardous drop rails may have a false sense of confidence, according to a Tribune investigation. Government documents reviewed by the newspaper reveal at least 19 instances of an entirely different hazard on the Delta cribs—mattress platforms that drop and create a gap that can entrap and strangle babies.” –Patricia Callahan, The Chicago Tribune

Cari Myhra's daughter, Sabrina, narrowly escaped injury when a corner of her crib mattress fell to the floor during a nap. (Bill Alkofer/For the Tribune / November 3, 2008)

As the causes of reported infant injuries from crib accidents continue to mount, it becomes increasingly clear that regulators are not facing a singular design flaw, but an industry wide safety problem.One recent industrial trend has become evident: Baby beds are now made almost exclusively in overseas factories in and mills where construction standards and labor laws are frequently ignored.The product is packaged overseas in a manner to reduce shipping costs to a minimum and then shipped to huge US retailers.These retailers do not inspect the products for safety.Instead, they put them on shelves to be sold to unsuspecting parents who have little information on whether the crib is safe.Finally, these parents must then assemble multiple parts (big and small) while trying to follow complicated and inadequate assembly instructions.

The latest such defective product was imported by the Delta Corporation.Although Delta Corporation earns millions selling infant cribs, they have ignored the concerns of parents who have purchased their products. Customers of the Delta Crib Corporation have reported a general lack of concern to solve the problem when they have called to report crib accidents.In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has publicly reported and that, “…Delta employees seemed indifferent when they reported the problems.”Other parents have been told by Delta that the company is, “…aware of prior incidents and that assembly instructions were faulty.” (Callahan) Despite having knowledge of this problem and earning millions in profits, the Delta Corporation has yet to take any action to remedy these multiple hazards.

If you are expecting a new child, you can take several steps to keep your baby safe.Please remember to research all cribs you are considering purchasing.Please also research any crib that you are currently using.Check to determine where the crib was actually manufactured and whether it has been inspected by any recognized safety organizations such as The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association.Check parenting magazines for reviews of cribs.Finally, remember that the simpler the crib, the better.Remember to perform safety checks to ensure that: 1) all screws and bolts are tight, 2) all moving parts and exposed angles are safe, and, 3) the mattress and supports are properly aligned and positioned.

For more information on Crib Safety, including recommendations and safety tips, please visit the American Association of Pediatrics Crib Information site.

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