Blind cords can pose strangulation risk to young children

posted on:
October 24, 2017

author:
Staff

The home can be filled with hidden dangers for young children. Seemingly innocuous home staples such as TVs, bedding and even window cord blinds can prove quite dangerous for little ones.

How are blind cords dangerous? Curious children can accidentally become entangled in them, potentially leading to strangulation. According to research by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 184 infants and young children were strangled by window cords between 1996 and 2012.

About one child dies per month due to a window cord accident in the United States.

October has been designated Window Covering Safety Month in hopes of raising awareness of the safety hazards. Each year the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) and the CPSC partner to remind parents and caregivers that cordless window coverings are the best option for homes with infants and young children.

The tragic results of using other types of blinds often make headlines. In December 2016, CNN reported the strangulation death of 3-year-old Elsie Mahe after she accidently wrapped a window blind cord around her neck. She was hospitalized for a week in a coma before finally succumbing to her injuries.

“Unconsciousness can happen within 15 seconds and death within two to three minutes,” said Kim Dulic, public relations officer for the CPSC, in a statement at the time. “CPSC is aware of incidents that have occurred while others, including parents, were in the same room.” Elsie was one of four American children who died in a six-week period around the holidays last year due to window blind cord accidents.

Although the risks of corded blinds are well documented, no government regulations ban their manufacturing. However, some retailers, including Ikea and Target, according to The Washington Post, only sell cordless blinds. Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walmart have pledged to remove corded blinds from their inventory by next year, the news source reports. Pull cords, looped bead chains, nylon cords, the inner cords of Roman shades and lifting loops of roll-up shades all could potentially pose a safety risk.

To help prevent blind cord strangulation, the WCSC recommends:

  • Keep cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows.
  • Make sure tasseled cords are as short as possible.
  • Anchor continuous-loop cords to the wall or floor.
  • Check that all cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement.

Since cordless blinds are the best options to prevent tragic accidents, retrofit instructions and free kits are available on the WCSC website.

Image courtesy Window Covering Safety Council.

Sources:
Righting Injustice
WCSC
CPSC
CNN
The Washington Post

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