Groups want new safety regulations for window coverings

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 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 ProductsConsumer Product Safety Commission, Docket No. CPSC-2013-0028

Backup Camera Rule Delayed

A federal rule mandating all new vehicles sold in the U.S. must have a backup camera is being pushed back until the end of 2015. In a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated that additional cost analysis is needed.

Rockefeller responded, “I am deeply disappointed by the Administration’s foot dragging over a rule that could help save the lives of hundreds of young children and prevent thousands of heartbreaking injuries.”

Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007

The Gulbransens' toddler was killed when he wandered behind an SUV.
The Gulbransens’ toddler was killed when he wandered behind an SUV.

The rule was required by the safety law named for a toddler who died after his father accidentally backed over him. Signed into law by President George W. Bush, the Act directed the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue standards that would lead to safety technologies on all autos. Included were provisions for a rear-visibility standard, brake-shift precautions, and the evaluation of power window sensors.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSB) proposed the backup camera mandate to satisfy the rear-visibility standard in 2010. This marks the fourth time the agency has delayed the rule’s starting date, most recently missing a Dec. 31 deadline. According to the Detroit News, backup cameras are already available on 80 percent of new vehicles, but only come standard on about half.

Auto Industry Balks at Price

Automakers have complained that the rule is too expensive and should not apply to all vehicles.  Regulators predicted it will cost around $160 to $200 year to implement, or as much as $2.7 billion a year. The New York Times reported last year that although SUVs and trucks are involved in many back-over incidents, “some of the biggest blind spots are actually on passenger cars where the trunk has a high deck lid and the driver sits low to the ground.”

According to the NHTSB, there were 202 back-over deaths and 14,000 back-over injuries last year. Half of those deaths involved children under 5 years old. The DOT estimates the measure would prevent 95 to 112 fatalities and 7,072 to 8,374 injuries annually. Reports indicate the delay will mean that backup camera rules aren’t likely to take effect before the 2017 model year – which could cost hundreds of children their lives.

Do you think all cars should be required to have a backup camera?

Will more high-tech options increase safety or cause drivers to become complacent, relying on their car to tell them what to do? Only time will tell.

Please share your thoughts on advanced automotive safety systems by commenting below.



“U.S. delays rear camera rules as much as 18 monthsby David Shepardson, The Detroit News, June 20, 2013.

U.S. Rule Set for Cameras at Cars’ Rear” by Nick Bunkley, The New York Times, February 27, 2012.

Children Drugged at Ohio Daycare

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Westerville Police say Tammy Eppley, who ran a daycare facility out of her house, regularly put drugs into the children’s food to make them fall asleep. Eppley reportedly laced cupcakes, pancakes and possibly drinks with melatonin and Benadryl to make the children drowsy. She then used her cell phone to take videos of “catatonic children on her couch.” Eppley is facing 6 counts of child endangerment. Luckily, none of the children required medical attention.

Dangerous Drugs

Aside from being morally repugnant, Eppley’s actions were potentially dangerous.  Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is a powerful antihistamine. According to the package insert, side effects may include drowsiness or excitability. If children are given too much of the drug, it “may cause hallucinations, convulsions, or death. Many people consider melatonin safe because it is a hormone that is produced by the brain. Linked to the body’s sleep cycle, it is available as a dietary supplement in tablet form. The Mayo Clinic reports that the side effects of taking melatonin supplements include sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, abdominal pain, anxiety, irritability, confusion, and depression. It may also affect the sexual development of children.

Eppley was not required to have a child-care license

Contrary to popular belief, not all daycares in Ohio are required to be licensed. Since Eppley was only caring for six children, including one of her own, her home fell into the “Type B” category of day care facilities. The Department of Job and Family Services lists the following requirements on its website:


  • 7 or more children of any age.
  • Centers must be licensed.

Type A Homes

  • 7-12 children (or 4-12 children if four children are under two years of age) cared for in the provider’s personal residence.
  • The provider’s own children under six years of age must be included in the total count.
  • Type A homes must be licensed.

Type B homes  

  • 1-6 children cared for in the provider’s personal residence.
  • No more than three children may be under two years of age.
  • The provider’s own children under six years of age must be included in the total count.
  • Anyone can operate a Type B Home without a license. However, care for more than 6 children requires a license. (Type B homes must be certified by the county department of Job and Family Services if the child care is paid for with public funds.)

When you entrust the care of your child to a daycare provider, you do so with the belief that your child will receive the best care possible and be properly monitored throughout the day. If your child has been injured due the negligence of a daycare center or home daycare provider, Elk & Elk can help you obtain compensation and get your child the medical assistance he or she needs in order to recover.
Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.



Day-care operator charged with drugging kids” By Theodore Decker, The Columbus Dispatch, June 18, 2013.

Child Care In Ohio –Types of Regulated Care in Ohio,” Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Parents warned to keep nasal sprays, eye drops out of children’s reach

By Arthur Elk

If you’re a parent, child safety is a concern and you have probably worried about your children accidentally swallowing something that they shouldn’t and getting sick or dying. More than 60,000 young children end up in emergency departments every year because they got into medicines while their parent or caregiver was not looking. Unfortunately, it can even happen with things you might not think of as toxic. The most recent cause for concern: eye drops and nasal decongestant sprays.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning the public that young children can become seriously ill if they accidentally swallow over-the-counter eye drops and nasal decongestant sprays. The products are sold under various brand names such as Visine, Dristan and Mucinex, as well as in generic and store brands.

The FDA is advising people to keep these products – which contain the active ingredients tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline, or naphazoline (known as imidazoline derivatives) – out of the reach of children at all times. Children who swallow even miniscule amounts of these products can have serious adverse effects, the FDA warns.

Between 1985 and 2012, the FDA identified 96 cases in which children ranging from 1 month to 5 years accidentally swallowed products containing these ingredients. Although there were no deaths reported, more than half of the cases (53) reported hospitalization because of symptoms that included nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, rapid heartbeat and coma.

In January, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission proposed a rule to require child-resistant packaging for all products containing at least 0.08 mg of an imidazoline derivative. However, this rule has not been finalized. While child-resistant packaging can’t completely stop accidentally swallowing by children, it is a safety measure that should be in place for any commonly used products that can endanger your children.

If a child accidentally swallows OTC redness-relief eye drops or nasal decongestant spray, call your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) immediately. Experts are available all day, every day at these centers. If necessary, poison center staff will immediately help get emergency medical services to your home. Program this number into your home and cell phones so you will have it when you need it. Post it on the fridge so it is in plain sight. This is a number every parent should have readily available. In the event of an emergency, you don’t want to be delayed trying to find the right number to call to get you the help you need.

The personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk want you and your family to be safe, so please remember to always keep any medications out of the reach of children. And if a medication has a safety cap, make sure it is securely locked every time you close the bottle. Don’t let a product that is designed to help you feel better cause a tragedy in your home.

Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers: Parents must make sure kids are properly restrained

A new study found that most children are not properly restrained when they ride in vehicles. The Ohio personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk urge all parents to make sure that their children are properly restrained every time they ride in a vehicle.

One of the most important jobs for any parent is to keep their children safe. A study released this week said that many parents may be failing to do just that each time they get in a vehicle.

The study published Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that the majority of U.S. kids do not sit safely in cars, either because they are not properly restrained in car seats or booster seats, or because they sit in the front seat.

Researchers at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, analyzed data from past studies that tracked children’s seating in cars at public sites such as restaurants, child care centers and gas stations. They observed nearly 22,000 children and found that only 3 percent of children ages 1-3 who were restrained were sititing in a proper, rear-facing car seat. And only 10 percent of 8- to 10-year-old children were properly restrained in a booster seat or car seat.

Some experts say confusion about child seat laws may be partially to blame. Child seat laws vary from state to state, and most state laws aren’t as strict as the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Under current Ohio law:

–          Infants should ride rear-facing in an infant-only or convertible seat until they are at least 1 year old and at least 20 pounds.

–          Children less than 4 years old or 40 pounds must use a child safety seat.

–          Children less than 8 years old, unless they are at least 57 inches tall, must use a booster seat

The latest AAP recommendations say that until age 2, children should sit in rear-facing seats, and children over 2 should sit in front-facing seats with harnesses until their weight and height exceeds the car seat’s capacity. Then, a booster seat should still be used until a child is 57 inches tall – the average height for an 11-year-old. They recommend that children shouldn’t sit in the front seat until they’re 13. Click here to read more from the AAP on child seat safety.

Common mistakes included that children over age 7 were seldom seated in a booster seat (only 2 percent of kids used a booster seat), and that by ages 8 to 10, 25 percent of kids were already sitting in the front seat.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children older than 3 and more than 140,000 children go to emergency rooms annually as a result of car accidents. But properly seating a child in a car seat or booster seat greatly reduces the risk of injury or death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years. According to researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for children 4 to 7 years, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59% compared to seat belts.

The personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk urge all parents, grandparents or anyone else who transports children to make sure that they follow all laws and guidelines for properly restraining children every time they get in the car. It is up to each parent to decide whether they want to just follow the restrictions enforced by law, or if they want to abide by the stricter suggestions from the AAP. Also, make sure you wear your seat belt every time you get in the car. This sets a good example for your children and shows that you are concerned about and value safety.

Don’t let your child become a statistic.