One of the many things we do when we buy a new home or move into an apartment is choose window treatments. Whether we have children, grandchildren, or an occasional toddler visit our home, we must be aware of certain hazards that are present. If you select blinds to cover your windows, be sure they are the new type of cordless ones.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that on the average, once every two weeks, a toddler or infant dies from strangulation from window blind cords. Blinds made prior to 2001 do not meet child safety regulations.
Toddlers love to climb up to look out of the window, and if they slip and fall, they could become entangled in the cords. Infants in cribs that are placed too near a window may grab a cord, place it in their mouth, and get it wrapped around their neck.
Here are some actions you may take to ensure safety regarding this hazard:
- Never have furniture near dangling cords in windows.
- Buy new cordless window blinds.
- Consider other window treatments, such as shutters or curtains.
- If you have older blinds, get retrofit kits to make them safe.
- Never place cribs near windows.
- Keep the child away from blind cords.
If you want to adjust the existing blind cords that you now own, the USCPSC recommends eliminating loops on 2-corded horizontal blinds by cutting the cord above the end tassel (looks like a small wood or plastic thimble).
Remove equalizer buckle and add new tassels for each cord, or replace it with a safety break-away tassel. Do not retie the cords in a knot, as that only recreates a new loop. Or, you can lower blind all the way, cut cords as close to top of blind as possible and then re-install tassels. Parents can reach, but the tots cannot! Otherwise, use old-fashioned cord cleats, which are available at most window covering stores.
The Window Covering Safety Council provides free retrofit kits: cord stops, tassels, and tie-down devices. Their toll-free number is 800-506-4636. You can contact them at their website or give them a call for more information.
We just learned of a tragic accident involving some type of cord hanging from a treadmill. It’s unknown at this time just exactly how it happened, but a 4 year-old girl is in critical condition from getting strangled by this cord. So, parents, look out for anything in your home that could be harmful!