When it comes to child safety, the type of window coverings you select may play an important part in keeping your little ones safe. One of the many tasks we have in furnishing our home is choosing window treatments. Whether we have children, grandchildren, or an occasional toddler visit our home, we must be aware of certain hazards that exist. If you select blinds to cover your windows, be sure they are the new type of cordless ones.
Blinds made prior to 2001 do not meet child safety regulations.
Little ones 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. One child died as a result of getting strangled by a loop attached to a treadmill.
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 the 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.
UPDATE: As of December 15, 2009, the USCPS Commission issued one of five of the largest recalls in the 35-year history of the agency. Roman shades have killed five children and almost strangled sixteen others since 2006. Since 2001, roll-up blinds have caused the deaths of three children. More than 50 million roll-up blinds and Roman shades are involved in the recall, due to strangulation of children. The space between the inner cord and shade fabric of the Roman shades, and the roll-up loop at the end of cords on blinds are very hazardous to children. “The agency is considering setting federal mandatory standards, as repeated recalls are not the answer,” said Scott Wolfson, spokesman for USCPSC. The Window Covering Safety Council is also backing the recall.
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.