A hidden danger found in millions of American homes is claiming one young life every month, despite repeated warnings of the risk. Looped or loose window covering cords can strangle young children in a matter of seconds. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 200 infants and young children have died from this hazard since 1990.
If you have youngsters living in or visiting your home, there are really only two ways to beat this danger:
- Don’t use window coverings that use cords. Either skip them altogether or use the new cordless ones that are now available.
- Choose window products that have special cords that are totally inaccessible to children.
You can also retrofit existing coverings using a special kit, which is free of charge, from the Window Covering Safety Council (www.windowcoverings.org). But, beware, the Council says: “Some retrofit kits from other sources do not address the dangling pull-cord hazard associated with many common window blinds.”
In the meantime, the Council suggests you move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and cords, and eliminate dangling cords by putting them out of reach.
Any tasseled cords should be as short as possible and 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.
But really, these are stop-gap measures and no substitute from replacing the coverings with cordless types.
The CPSC says corded coverings are one of the top 5 hidden hazards in the home and has set up a special information center section on its website. There also a useful video on how to check for safety at: http://tinyurl.com/cpsc-cords