WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents and caregivers during October to check all window coverings for exposed or dangling cords, which pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children.
CPSC is in agreement with the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) and safety advocates that only cordless window coverings, or those with inaccessible cords, should be used in homes, childcare centers, and other places where young children are present. To heighten public awareness of window cord dangers, the WCSC once again declared October National Window Covering Safety Month.
According to CPSC’s research, between 1996 and 2012, about 184 infants and young children died from strangling in window cords. During the same period, CPSC staff is aware of more than 100 non-fatal strangulation incidents.
While efforts to address this hazard continue, the nationwide public awareness campaign is designed to increase consumer awareness of potential window covering cord hazards. CPSC urges parents and caregivers of young children to use only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords.
“Every year, cords from window coverings kill children,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. “Parents should go cordless if they can. This is a true hidden hazard to parents and children. Until the more hazardous options are removed from the marketplace, going cordless is the safest approach to use in places where young children are present.”
CPSC encourages parents and caregivers to follow these window cord precautions:
- The best option is to install only cordless window coverings in homes with young children.
- If you choose to have corded window coverings in your house, follow these steps to lower the strangulation risk to your child:
- Keep all window covering cords well out of the reach of children, at all times.
- Move and keep all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces away from windows.
- Make sure pull cords are adjusted to be as short as possible.
- Continuous-loop pull cords on draperies, roller shades, and vertical blinds must be pulled tight and anchored to the floor or wall with a tension device.
- Be sure “cord stops,” a washer-like device used to prevent a dangerous cord loop from being pulled out of an inner cord, are installed properly. Cord stops should be adjusted to limit movement on inner cords of blinds and shades.
For a free repair kit, call the WCSC at (800) 506-4636, or visit windowcoverings.org. Consumers should know that some retrofit kits do not address the dangling pull cord hazard associated with many commonly used window blinds.
Additional information can also be found at CPSC’s Window Covering Information Center at http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Window-Covering/
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
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