As San Diego child injury lawyers, we want parents to be aware that October
is Window Covering Safety Month. This year, the message of the public
safety campaign is “Kids and Cords Don't Mix.”
Between 1996 and 2012, approximately 184 infants and young children died
from strangling in window cords. During the same period, more than 100
non-fatal strangulations occurred. Strangulation incidents can happen
quickly and silently, most frequently when children wrap window covering
operating cords around their necks. They can also become entangled in
loops formed by cords, some of which are not clearly visible but are accessible
According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), strangulation
has occurred most often in children’s bedrooms and in living rooms,
areas generally perceived by caregivers as safe. While many parents may
associate the strangulation risk with young children, incidents have involved
children up to nine years old.
Due to the
strangulation risks posed by corded window coverings, the CPSC advises that only cordless window coverings, or those with inaccessible
cords, should be used in homes, childcare centers, and other places where
young children are present.
“Every year, cords from window coverings kill children,” said
CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. “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.”
For those with corded window coverings, the agency recommends that parents
follow these steps to lower the strangulation risk:
- Keep all window covering cords well out of the reach of children, at all times.
- Move and keep all furniture, cribs, beds 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
must be pulled tight
and anchored to the floor or wall with a 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.
Parents should also be aware of product recalls. In recent years, CPSC
has recalled millions of window coverings that have cords.
If your child or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to
a recalled or otherwise defective window covering, you may be entitled
to compensation. To discuss your legal rights, contact
a San Diego product liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.