OnSafety is the Official Blog Site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here you'll find the latest safety information as well as important messages that will keep you and your family safe. We hope you'll visit often!

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Window Covering Cords: Don’t Tie Them Up, Get Them Away From Children

Earlier this week, we participated in a #CordSafety Twitter chat. These chats are useful to spread safety advice. Chats also give everyone insight into what parents are doing in their homes. Here’s an important question that was posed in the chat:

Mom It Forward Tweet: Giveaway Question! Please answer the following question: How do you keep cords out of the reach of kids?

The number of people who said they tie up the cords and place them up high surprised us. Here’s a sample of the responses:

  • When my kids were smaller, we tied up the cords to top of the blinds. Revisited often.
  • I tie them up and keep them out reach. From window cords to appliance cords.
  • Answer – rooms with blinds have the cords tied up at the top of the window.
  • I tie them in a loose bow, well out of reach. Keep furniture away, that they could stand on, teach safety

Tie ‘em up is risky. It gives parents a false sense of security. Cords can, and do, get tangled. Sometimes, this happens after parents tie the cords up to childproof the cords.

One child strangles in window cords nearly every month. Kids can easily wrap dangling or accessible cords around their necks and get tangled. Even cords tied up and high can be accessible to young children. There have been incidents of well-intentioned, tied up cords that have ended tragically.

Take a look at our blog on Kids and Cords from 2010. In there, we tell you about parents who regularly tried to tie hanging window covering cords up so that they did not hang down. Dad left his 22-month-old son for about 10 minutes, only to find him strangled in tangled cords.

This incident is not the only tragic tale of the “tie them up” approach. That’s why we recommend the following options for families with young children:

  • Cordless: Self explanatory. This is the safest option.
  • Shades with inaccessible cords: You shouldn’t be able to grab onto a cord in any way.

The top two are the best options. If new window coverings truly aren’t an option in your budget install a retrofit kit. These kits are a short-term fix, especially for mini-blinds made before 2000. Just remember that these kits do not address all the hazards posed by cords.

Exposed cords must be inaccessible to children. Tying them up and/or knotting them up can be dangerous. Look for products that are specifically designed to keep the cords out of sight and reach. If you don’t go cordless now, make the cords in your home inaccessible.

For more information on window covering cord safety, please visit CPSC’s Window Covering Cords Information Center.

 

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/10/window-covering-cords-dont-tie-them-up-get-them-away-from-children/

In Home Drowning Takes 87 Lives!

Blog in Spanish

Wherever you have water in and around your home, supervising small children is critical. (Remember our Baby’s Bath: What You Need to Know blog from last year?)  About once every four days, a child under the age of 5 drowns in a bathtub, bucket, toilet or landscape pond. Eighty percent of these incidents happen in a bathtub.  Wow! How many parents know that?

Take some time during Baby Safety Month to watch this video to see how you can help save 87 children. Use this YouTube link to share or embed the video on your site.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/09/in-home-drowning-takes-87-lives/

Kids Can Strangle in Window Cords

Blog in Spanishbaby doll being strangled by a window cord.

Do you live in military housing with your family?   Take a look at your window blinds or other type of window coverings, including Roman shades.  If you can see any dangling or accessible cords, your child is at risk.

Window coverings with exposed cords are one of the top hidden home hazards.  Kids can easily and quickly wrap the cords around their necks or become entangled in the cord loops.

In fact, one child strangles in window cords nearly every month and another child is hurt.  This can happen quickly and silently.  Sadly, some of the incidents occurred in military housing. We want to help you and your family to be safe and secure in your home.

So, on Military Consumer Protection Day (July 17 this year), examine your window blinds, curtains and shades closely. Look for exposed, looped cords. What you find may surprise you.  What you do about it can save your child’s life.

Here is how you can safeguard your windows.

  • Use cordless blinds or go with blinds or shades that have inaccessible cords. Many stores have these products available for purchase right now.

 

  • Move cribs, beds, and furniture away from windows, because children can climb on them and reach the cords on the window coverings.

 

  • Make loose cords inaccessible, if you are unable to replace older blinds and shades.

In the past, many consumers have used free repair kits from the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) to fix their blinds that were made before November 2000.  Keep in mind that these kits do not get rid of the dangling pull cord hazard with many common window blinds.

Kids and cords are a dangerous combination. So, if you have young children in your house, your safest approach is to go cordless or buy blinds with inaccessible cords.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/07/kids-can-strangle-in-window-cords/

Give the Gift of Safety This Mother’s Day

Bare is Best! Poster

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a bare crib that meets CPSC’s new federal safety standards.

 Blog en español

Remember the happiness you felt when you first held your baby? Was your next thought “Now what?” Keeping your baby safe was likely one concern. Do you know there are some simple steps that you can take to lessen your worry and create a safer home for you and your baby? Well, there are!

So, relax this Mother’s Day and give yourself the gift of safety. Here are a few safety steps and safety devices that can give you peace of mind and can help reduce the risk of injuries to babies and young children. Most steps are easy to remember; the devices are relatively inexpensive:

 

    1. Bare is Best: Put your baby to sleep in a crib that doesn’t have quilts, comforters or pillows. Nearly half of the infant crib deaths and two-thirds of bassinet deaths reported to CPSC each year are suffocations caused by pillows, quilts and/or clutter in the baby’s sleeping space. Footed pajamas should be enough to keep your baby warm.

 

    1. Safety Latches and Locks: These are a no-brainer to help prevent children from accessing medicines, toxic household cleaners (including single-load liquid laundry packets) and sharp objects.

 

    1. Furniture Anchors: Before your baby gets mobile, crawl around your home and explore. Do you see a dresser, bookcase or other piece of furniture? That looks fun to climb, doesn’t it? Buy and install low-cost anchoring devices to prevent a tip-over tragedy.

 

    1. Water Dangers: Any time your baby is near water, you should remain on high alert. It only takes a few inches of water and a short lapse in supervision for a child to drown. Stay focused on your baby constantly when your baby is in the bath. Do not rely on bath seats or siblings to assist with bath time. PoolSafely.gov also has many simple steps for parents to take in and around pools and spas, including using fences and alarms.

 

    1. Small Batteries: Coin or button-sized batteries that power devices like remote controls, electronic games, toys, musical cards, and hearing aids can cause life-threatening chemical burns in the body in as little as two hours. Even dead batteries can cause serious injuries.  Battery compartments should be secured with a tight screw or strong tape if there’s no screw on the product. Put any item with an unsecured battery up and out of sight and reach of a child. Throw away used batteries in a way that children can’t get to them.

 

    1. Corded Products: Cords such as those on window coverings and baby monitors have strangled children. Keep all cords out of a baby’s reach. Baby monitor cords should be at least 3 feet away from your child’s reach.  CPSC urges parents to use cordless blinds or window coverings that have inaccessible cords in homes with young children.

 

  1. Working Alarms: You never know when you’ll need a working carbon monoxide or smoke alarm—until a disaster happens.  Working CO and smoke alarms should be placed on every floor of a home. Here’s a guide to more information on smoke alarms.

Editor’s Note: Babycenter has cross-posted this blog in English and in Spanish.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/05/give-the-gift-of-safety-this-mothers-day/

Window Falls: A Community Acts for Safety

Blog en español

Community education programs work. That’s a message we at CPSC hear regularly through our Neighborhood Safety Network.

Last week, during Window Safety Week, Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland, Ore., touted that message while spreading the word on preventing window falls. “According to Oregon Trauma Registry data, the rate of children’s window falls has decreased 46 percent from 2009 to 2011,” the hospital says in a news release.

The Oregon hospital, along with Safe Kids Oregon and a mom whose child died in a window fall, formed the STOP at 4” campaign to raise awareness about window safety. The campaign’s slogan means that when you open windows, you should stop and lock the window at 4 inches to prevent children from falling from open windows. According to that campaign’s website, the campaign was launched by injury prevention specialists who were concerned by the large number of children in Oregon who fell from second-story windows in warm weather.

Window fall safety is a topic we’ve written about before. We have a fantastic video and a safety alert that you can post on your website and in your community or share in your social media channels to spread the message: Five minutes is all it takes to prevent your child from falling out of a window.  We encourage you to follow these simple steps:

  • Install window guards and window stops to prevent children from falling out of windows.
  • Don’t depend on screens to keep children from falling out. Screens keep bugs out; they won’t keep children in.
  • Whenever possible, open windows from the top, NOT the bottom.
  • Keep furniture away from windows to limit a child’s access.

We applaud local safety campaigns such as those in Portland, New York City and other cities and towns. Our Neighborhood Safety Network sends free safety materials including posters, videos, pamphlets and alerts to subscribers around the country to help spread safety in local communities.

Do you want to help address a consumer product-related safety need in your community?  Let our Neighborhood Safety Network team know at nsn@cpsc.gov.

 

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/04/window-falls-a-community-acts-for-safety/