The United States is home to over one billion window blinds. On an average, Americans purchase new shades every seven years. Everyone recognizes that window blinds serve an aesthetic and practical purpose in homes. However, a chink in window shades manufacturers' armor is the potential hazard that their products pose to children.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), window cords pose one of the biggest strangulation threats to children aged three years and younger. As children choke on the cord, they're unable to call for help. Ironically, a majority of the accidents occur when the parents are at home.
Most common ways in which children are endangered
Studies have pointed to two common ways in which children most often get strangled in the cords. Toddlers attempting to climb onto furniture or look out of a window slip and get caught in the cords. Infants whose cribs are positioned near windows twist against the looped cords while playing or sleeping, and get tangled.
What is the solution?
Two words : cordless blinds. CPSC and window covering trade groups have called on parents of young children to install cordless blinds. Another option is to buy retractable cords or covered cords that children cannot access.
Here's a look at some safety tips that can go a long way in preventing tragedies occurring from window cords:
Cords that end in loops are particularly risky for children. Cut the cords short and attach it to a cleat or add child safety tassels. Also anchor continuous loop cords to the wall or floor.
Don't place your furniture next to blind cords. Also move away shelves and bookcases from the windows so that your children cannot climb up and access the blind cords.
Replace older corded shades and window blinds (manufactured before 2001) with safer products manufactured more recently.
Lock cords into position while lowering horizontal shades or blinds, as well as when they come to rest at the windowsill.
Educate your kids on the dangers of window blinds, and set rules on playing near windows.
We would like to reiterate that cordless blinds are the best solution if you have tiny tots running around the house. They may cost you a bit more, and there's a reason why. Cordless blinds are more complex to manufacture, which has a direct bearing on costs. It costs manufacturers an additional $1 to $2 to make a cordless blind. We would recommend that you prioritize safety over price, at least until such time that your kids grow up.
Stringent laws have rightly compelled manufacturers in the consumer products industry to minimize hazards resulting from their goods. However, it is impossible to get rid of every possible hazard. Trade groups argue that window blinds are not children's products, therefore, the onus is on the parents to exercise necessary precautions to prevent unfortunate incidents.
The CPSC is doing its bit to educate parents on the dangers of blind cords through safety alerts, national campaigns, and by sending posters and brochures to pediatricians' offices. By taking simple steps, you can keep mishaps at bay while enjoying an optimally lit and visually pleasing home.