CPSC Warns of The Danger Of Children Strangulation In Window Blind Or Drapery Cords

December 20, 1985
Release Number: 86069

Originally issued December 20, 1985; Revised March 28, 2003
Release #85-069

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Window Covering manufacturers Association (AWCMA) are concerned about accidental death or injury to infants and young children who become entangled in pull cords for window coverings. A 1981 Commission staff report about accidental strangulation of children under five years of age found that window covering cords were identified as one of the products most frequently associated with child strangulation.

In the last four years, the Commission has investigated three deaths and received reports of more than 32 other deaths in which children between the ages of seven months and four years strangled on these cords. Most of the children were under two years of age and were in cribs which had been placed near window covering pull cords.

Other victims were children who were not in cribs, but who were playing with the cord. Children may find the cord hanging near the floor, or they may reach the cord by climbing on furniture placed near the cord. These accidents can and have occurred when a child is alone in a room for only a short time.

The Commission and the AWCMA urge parents to keep of the reach of young children by tying or hanging the near the top of window coverings. Remember that cribs placed near windows give children additional height to cords. Some ways to secure the cords are:

-Clip the cord to itself or to the window covering with a clamping device, such as a clothes pin or cord clip.

-Wrap or tie the cord to itself.

-Wrap the cord around a cleat securely mounted near the top of the window covering.

-Securely install a tie-down device (this may be useful when a long looped cord is necessary).

The devices mentioned above are available from hardware stores or your window covering dealer. In addition to these suggestions, it is also recommended that when you install window coverings, adjust the cords to their shortest length possible, and when you order new window coverings specify that you want a "short cord".

To report any potential product-related hazards, consumers should call the CPSC Hotline at 800-638-CPSC. The teletypewriter number for the hearing-impaired is (301) 595-7054.