INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) — The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning people about one of the most serious hazards in their homes.
The CPSC says, on average, about nine children under the age of 5 die every year from strangling in window blinds, shades, draperies or other window coverings with cords. This hidden danger can result in tragedy even when an adult is nearby.
“Young children can quickly and silently become strangled on pull cords, continuous loop cords, inner cords or any other accessible cords on window coverings,” CPSC Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric said.
In 2012, a 14-month-old girl was found dead in her crib. One of the child’s parents reported that she reached from her crib toward the window, pulling enough cord to strangle herself to death.
That little girl’s death was just one of more than 200 incidents involving children up to 8 years old due to strangulation hazards from window covering cords from January 2009 through December 2021. These injuries include a scar around the neck, quadriplegia, permanent brain damage and even death.
In the 14-month-old girl’s death, the report indicates the window coverings did not have inner cord stops installed on them. She was able to reach the inner cord from her crib, which was placed to the left of the window opening. Photos included in the CPSC incident report show the crib’s placement near the window:
The CPSC is urging people to take the time to choose cordless window coverings. These are widely available at most major retailers and online.
The commission especially urges people with children to buy and install cordless window coverings for all rooms where children might be present. If they can’t, the CPSC recommends they take the following safety steps:
- Eliminate any dangling cords by making the pull cords as short as possible.
- Keep all window covering cords out of the reach of children.
- Ensure that cord stops are installed properly and adjusted to limit the movement of inner lift cords.
- Anchor to the floor or wall continuous-loop cords for draperies and blinds.
- Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window covering cords, preferably to another wall.
The commission is also working to address strangulation risks under two proposed rules on corded window coverings.
One of the rules would establish performance requirements for safe operating cords on custom window coverings. The other rule would deem the presence of hazardous operating cords and inner cords on stock window coverings and hazardous inner cords on custom window coverings to be a substantial product hazard.
For more information about window covering safety, visit the CPSC’s website.