Window Covering Safety: What you should know about your window cords

Childcare Product Safety Attorney

Window Covering Safety: What you should know about your window cords

Window coverings are one of the top five “hidden hazards” in a home and can cause severe injuries and even death in young children. On average, one child dies from strangling in a window cord every month in the United States. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 184 infants have died from strangling in window cords from 1996-2012. As a result, the CPSC is declaring October “Window Covering Safety Month” in effort to promote awareness about the dangers that come from window coverings.

The CPSC has started the process of creating mandatory safety standards for all window covering after an urging from a petition filed by seven different consumer groups. One of the groups is led by parents of children who have been strangled by window cords. CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye shared, “Every year, cords from window coverings kill children. Parents should go cordless if they can. This is a true hidden hazard to parents and children.  Until the more hazardous options are removed from the marketplace, going cordless is the safest approach to use in places where young children are present.”

The Window Covering Manufacturers Association feels that the industry’s voluntary standards are enough to prevent injuries and that there is no need for the government to get involved.

Although the CPSC recommends having cordless window coverings on your windows, if that is not an option you should follow these safety steps:

  • Keep window covering cords out of reach of children at all times.
  • Move all the furniture, cribs, and climbable surfaces away from windows.
  • Make sure pull cords are adjusted to be as short as possible.
  • Continuous-loop pull cords on draperies, roller shades, and vertical blinds should be pulled tight and anchored to the floor or wall with tension device.
  • Be sure “cord stops,” a washer-like device used to prevent a dangerous cord loop from being pulled out of an inner cord, are installed properly.  Cord stops should be adjusted to limit movement on inner cords of blinds and shades.

For a free repair kit, call the WCSC at (800) 506-4636, or visit windowcoverings.org.  Consumers should know that some retrofit kits do not address the dangling pull cord hazard associated with many commonly used window blinds.

Source: CPSC

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