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5.5 million blinds, shades recalled after deaths

Three children were reported strangled in cords attached to window treatments, government says.

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By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com staff reporter

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Six window-treatment manufacturers recalled a total of 5.5 million blinds and shades Wednesday after three children were strangled in attached cords.

The three deaths involved blinds or shades made or imported by Lewis Hyman and Vertical Land, said the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Four additional manufacturers also announced recalls, though no deaths from their products have been reported.

"Any exposed loop in a window covering can become a noose for a child," said CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson. "We're concerned about the inadequacy of current standards for shades and blinds."

One child dies each month in the U.S. after being strangled in a window cord, he added.

Of course, recalls work best when announced before anyone is injured. But the process of setting a recall in motion can take time, Wolfson said, noting one death involved in Wednesday's recall occurred in 2006.

Lewis Hyman, of Carson, Calif., recalled about 4.2 million roll-up blinds because in 2007 a one-year-old was strangled in the lift cord loop that had fallen into his portable crib, CPSC said.

Lewis Hyman is also recalling 600,000 Roman shades after a 2008 death of a 13-month-old boy whose head was caught between the exposed inner cord and cloth on the back of the shade.

Panama Beach City, Fla.-based Vertical Land is recalling three types of window treatments: 15,400 horizontal blinds, 16,400 vertical blinds and 800 cellular shades. They lack devices to stop the inner cord loop from being pulled out, as happened in 2006 when a 4-year-old girl was strangled.

In addition, Target (TGT, Fortune 500) is recalling 163,000 cloth and bamboo roman shades manufactured by Edison, N.J.-based Victoria Classics, and Lutron Shading Solutions is recalling about 245,000 roller shades. No injuries were reported for either company's products.

Pottery Barn Kids is recalling about 85,000 roman shades after six children became entangled in the inner cord but were freed, while IKEA is recalling about 120,000 roman blinds after a 2-year-old boy suffered a near strangulation from a looped bead chain.

"The CPSC works to recall products as quickly as we can," Wolfson said. "When there is a fatality, especially a child, it is of the utmost concern to the agency." To top of page

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Updated 4:00 pm; adds comment from CPSC spokesman