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October is Window Covering Safety Month

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 to children.

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.