We’ve known for years that the cords of window coverings can be deadly to children. But despite voluntary efforts by manufacturers to create safer designs, about once a month a child dies from window cord strangulation and dozens more are severely injured.
Recently, several safety advocate groups jointly filed a petition with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stating voluntary efforts to reduce risks to children have failed. They have asked for a mandatory rule which would prohibit cords on window coverings if there is an alternative. The groups maintain that feasible and cost-effective designs that eliminate the risk of window cord strangulations already exist, but the voluntary standard does not require their use.
According to the petition,” There is substantial non-compliance with the voluntary standard. A number of manufacturers have ignored basic safety provisions of the voluntary standard, and have manufactured non-compliant window coverings for years and even decades. Since 2007, there have been at least 16 CPSC recalls involving blinds that were not manufactured in compliance with the voluntary standard.”
On its website, the CPSC states that about two-thirds of potentially fatal window covering incidents could be prevented if the looped cords and long operating cords are made inaccessible or made so that a hazardous loop is not formed.
The CPSC is accepting public comments concerning the petition from now until September 13, 2013.
What to do if you have corded window coverings:
- If you cannot afford new, cordless window coverings, contact the Window Covering Safety Council at 800-506-4636 or at www.windowcoverings.org for a free repair kit to make them safer.
- Examine all shades and blinds for exposed cords on the front, side and back of the product.
- Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.
- Keep all window cords well out of the reach of children. Eliminate any dangling cords.
- Make sure that tasseled pull cords are as short as possible.
- Check that cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit the movement of inner lift cords.
- Continuous-loop cords on draperies and vertical blinds should be permanently anchored to the floor or wall.
Remember to check for exposed or dangling cords at any place your young child may go, including day care facilities, friends and neighbors, and especially grandparents – who may have much older window coverings.
“Feds urged to make window covering cords safer for children” by James Limbach of ConsumerAffairs, News Tribune, June 3, 2013.
“Petition for Rulemaking to Eliminate Accessible Cords on Window Covering Products” Consumer Product Safety Commission, Docket No. CPSC-2013-0028