Window blinds are a common household necessity that many of us don’t even consider when assessing safety in our homes. However, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has made its goal to change people’s mindsets on window blinds by reminding consumers the hidden dangers surrounding exposed cords.
According to ABC 6, mother Nicci Walla was videotaping her children in 2002 when she realized her 4-year-old son had become entrapped in the cords of a window blind and was in distress. By the time she reached him, he had lost consciousness. She dialed 911 and while attempting to get an ambulance on the scene, her son regained consciousness and began coughing and breathing. Many families are not as fortunate as this one, though.
A similar incident occurred last year to Steven and Erica Thomas’ 2-year-old son, Mac. Upon discovering Mac in asphyxiation by the window blinds, they were sadly unable to save him in time.
“I called 911. I started CPR. And I knew. I just knew. I was just screaming,” Erica said.
The CPSC reports that for almost 20 years straight, at least one child has been killed monthly due to corded window blinds. As a result of these strangulations, hundreds more survived their incident with injuries.
“They like pulling on them. And they pull on them and they wrap them around their necks, and that’s what happens. And it’s devastating,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye.
In 1995, the CPSC released a warning regarding the dangers of window blinds and, thankfully, positive safety changes have been made by the industry responsible for manufacturing window blinds. While the industry claims that its “current voluntary safety standard adequately addresses the risk of strangulation,” the CPSC believes the safety could still be improved upon.
Many retailers, including Target and IKEA, have stopped selling corded window blinds due to the dangers associated with them. Walmart plans to join those retailers by 2018, removing corded window blinds from its merchandise both online and in store.
For more information on the dangers of corded window blinds, visit the CPSC’s page at http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Window-Covering/.