Public awareness campaigns have failed to slow the number of child deaths
associated with corded window blinds, according to a new study. The findings
have prompted renewed efforts to completely ban window blinds with cords
due to their inherent risks to small children.
As we have discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, corded window blinds
pose a serious strangulation hazard. The problem is that children can
wrap the cords from blinds and other window coverings around their necks
or can pull cords and become entangled in the loops.
Latest Window Cord Injury Study Is Alarming
Nearly one child dies every month in window blind-related incidents, according
to a new study. From 1990 to 2015, nearly 17,000 children younger than
6 were treated in emergency rooms for window-blind related injuries in
the United States.
Entanglement injuries accounted for 11.9 percent of all cases, and among
this subgroup, 98.9 percent involved blind cords, and 80.7 percent were
to the neck. Among the entanglement-related injuries, 29.3 percent were
hospitalized, and 12.9 percent resulted in death.
To generate the statistics, researchers examined data from the Consumer
Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance
System and In-Depth Investigation (IDI) databases. The results were recently
published in the journal Pediatrics.
New Window Blind Standard Doesn’t Go Far Enough
Voluntary safety standards currently exist for window coverings. Over the
past several years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
has also recalled over five million window coverings, including Roman
shades, roller and roll-up blinds, vertical and horizontal blinds, for
posing strangulation risks and other hazards. However, as the study highlights,
the existing measures are not working to prevent fatal injuries.
The CPSC is in the first stage of implementing mandatory rulemaking on
window coverings. The revised voluntary standard, ANSI/WCMA 100.1, will
require all “stock” products (e.g. produced prior to an order
and sold both online and in retail stores) to have either no operating
cords in window blinds, no accessible operating cords, or short operating
cords (eight inches or less, which is not long enough to wrap around a
The new standard, however, would still allow consumers to custom order
blinds with dangerous cords. Because custom blinds account for 20 percent
of all blinds purchased in the United States, safety advocates argue that
a complete ban is needed. "Seventy years ago we recognized that this
was a product that was killing kids," said study author Dr. Gary
Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide
Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "We should put child safety
Window Cord Safety Tips
The CPSC advises parents and caregivers that the best option is to install
only cordless blinds in homes with young children. If you choose to have
corded window coverings in your house, the following steps can help to
lower the strangulation risk to your child:
- 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.
If your child or someone you love has suffered serious harm due to a defective
or dangerous product, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury
lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. We
have the knowledge and experience to protect your legal rights.