Most homes have window blinds. Families with children younger than 9 should carefully inspect their blinds, curtains, and other window adornments to prevent a tragedy from occurring. Exposed pull and tilt cords — along with tightly threaded inner cords — have the potential of strangling toddlers and youngsters who get wrapped up in them while playing or spending time in an unattended room.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately one child dies after being entangled in cords each month. The statistics are startling:
- Between 1990 and 2015, nearly 300 children died and almost 17,000 received injuries from corded blinds and curtains in the United States. While many injuries were minor, some children died by strangulation.
- Between 1996 and 2012, almost 1600 children in the United States required emergency room visits after becoming tangled in cords. Most were under the age of 6.
Medical literature has documented the dangers of corded blinds since the mid-1940s. In recent years, calls for reform have grown louder. New consumer regulations should take effect by the end of 2018 when the CPSC plans to mandate that stores and online outlets sell only cordless blinds. Corded blinds will still be available from firms that accept custom orders.
Although new standards will help, there is no requirement that residents remove blinds currently mounted in their homes. Advocacy groups such as Parents for Window Blind Safety (PFWBS) have called for reform by vendors and vigilance by parents. Warning labels offer little solace since most children are not going to read them.
Until the new regulations go into effect, PFWBS encourages families to choose products that are “child-safe” in construction and replace their outdated blinds.