The Window Covering Safety Council and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are urging parents and caregivers during October to check their window coverings for exposed or dangling cords that can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children, and to retrofit or replace them with today’s safer products.
WCSC and CPSC recommend that only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords be used in homes with young children.
The October window-cord awareness campaign, known as National Window Covering Safety Month, is sponsored by the WCSC and the CPSC. According to the CPSC, corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes, with infants and children dying each year from accidentally strangling in window cords. Some of these incidents involve older products that are still in use but don’t have the safety devices or designs instituted in the past decade.
“Window cord strangulations are one of the top hidden hazards in the home,” explains CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “CPSC recommends that only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords be used in homes with young children. They are available today in the marketplace and will prevent window blind strangulations. Make sure all window shades, blinds and draperies in your home do not have cords that are within the reach of a child.” In addition, the Window Covering Safety Council encourages parents and caregivers to follow these basic cord-safety precautions:
- Move all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces away from windows.
- Keep all window cords well out of the reach of children.
- Install only cordless window coverings in homes with young children.
- Make sure tasseled pull cords are as short as possible. Continuous-loop pull cords on draperies and vertical blinds should be pulled tight and anchored to the floor or wall.
- Be sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit inner-cord movement.
“Parents who check their windows and window coverings for safety and replace their older corded blinds, shades and draperies with cordless products can feel more confident about their child’s well-being,” says WCSC Executive Director Peter Rush. To learn more about window-cord safety, or to order free retrofit kits, go to the Window Covering Safety Council’s web site at www.windowcoverings.org, or phone toll-free at 1-800-506-4636.