Shopping for window blinds involves much more than making a decision based upon design, color, and size. Window-blind cords pose a direct hazard to children and pets, and consumers should consider the latest safety standards when making a purchase. While many have corded blinds in their home and have taken steps to prevent accidents such as choking or strangulation due to dangling cords, the safest approach is to select cordless window coverings and blinds. Window-blind cords have caused accidents and deaths in children ranging from infancy to elementary-age. In addition, curious dogs and cats may inadvertently have a window-blind cord wrap around their necks and suffer serious and fatal consequences. Strangulation and near-strangulation incidents due to window-blind cords are a dangerous reality that is more common than one may realize. When childproofing or making a home safe for a new pet, window blinds and cord safety must be a top concern.

Not many think of window cords as being deadly, but they are. Families must realize the dangers lurking in their home when they have dangling window-blind cords. In fact, organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Coverings Safety Council refer to window-blind cords as the most dangerous object inside most homes. Statistics show at least one child per month dies due to window-blind-cord strangulation. While groups like the CPSC and Window Coverings Safety Council bring awareness to the issue, the most prolific voices regarding the dangers of window blinds are the grieving families, often mothers of lost children, who never recognized the inherent dangers of having corded blinds. Parents who thought their older children were safe from danger have lost their children due to these horrific accidents. Many children who survive near-strangulation due to window-blind cords are left with permanent brain damage and can end up in a helpless, vegetative state. The worst aspect of these tragedies is that in most situations, window-blind-cord strangulation is preventable.

When choosing window coverings, keep in mind that models featuring items such as cleats, tassels, and joiners have been linked to strangulation or near-strangulation accidents. Though the safety features on some blinds prevent cords from forming loops on one side of the blind, the other side features dangling cords or tassels that pose a safety hazard. Any time a window-blind cord features a cord or tassels that dangle, there is a possibility that over time, they will intertwine and twist, therefore forming a loop. A child or pet may put their head through the interwined loop and strangle. Experts feel that cordless window blinds are preferable in homes with children eight years old and younger. Pet owners might find cordless window blinds are the safest choice when pets are in the home.

The CPSC regularly monitors reports of strangulation and near-strangulation due to window-blind cords. Millions of products have been recalled due to these incidents. While there are retrofit kits available for those who have standard window blinds that will help reduce the risk, the safest method is to replace corded blinds with cordless window coverings. For those who find that replacing blinds with cordless models is not an option, choose a repair kit or select blinds from a manufacturer who explicitly states that their product meets current safety requirements and has been fashioned to avoid strangulation and near-strangulation risks.
Article written by Lexi Westingate
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