Toddler’s death prompts US recall for Ikea blinds

Swedish furniture maker Ikea announced on Tuesday it was recalling window blinds sold in the United States following the choking death of a one-year-old girl.

“It was a terrible accident that we deeply regret. Security is Ikea’s highest priority and it is important to us that we reach out to all customers who have purchased these blinds,” Eva Stål, a spokeswoman for Ikea’s Swedish division, told AFP.

“In the United States we have chosen to totally recall the products,” she said, adding that all the Iris and Alvine blinds with a number series below 0830 have been pulled from the shelves.

She added that in Sweden and other markets Ikea was asking customers to contact the company to receive a free repair kit with a lock mechanism for the blinds to minimize the risk of children getting hurt.

Stål said she did not know how many of the blinds had been sold in the United States but that worldwide the number was about five million.

US customers who returned the blinds would be compensated, she said.

The move came after a young girl died in the United States after getting caught in an Ikea blind cord in April this year.

Stål pointed out that Ikea’s blinds had a very basic construction and were not more dangerous than other common blinds sold by other vendors.

“This is a very common type of blind … Everyone who sells window dressings sell this kind of blind,” she said, adding that “there is always a risk with this kind of blind and it’s important that the instructions for use are followed.”

All Ikea blinds were equipped with warnings about the dangers of dangling cords in the reach of small children, Stål said.

While the repair kit for the blinds outside the United States will make them safer, they too carry the same warning, she added.