PhotoThe problem of children strangling on window cords is one that just won't go away. Despite warnings, recalls, and revised industry standards, children continued to become entangled in window covering cords, with often tragic results.

In a recent 29-day period, four children died from window cord strangulation: 

  • a 4-year-old boy, in Chicago Ridge, Illinois, on November 12, 2016;
  • a 4-year-old girl in Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 29, 2016;
  • a 4-year-old girl in League City, Texas, on December 7, 2016; and
  • a 3-year-old boy in Cleburne, Texas, on December 10, 2016.

The deaths are the most recent in a long list of 293 deaths and serious injuries caused by window cords between 1996 and 2012.

“These window covering strangulations are so complicated but the most important factor is that it happens to the best of parents. Parents who trusted that either tying up cords, cutting cord short or using breakaway devices would prevent their children from death,” said Linda Kaiser, Founder and President of Parents for Window Blind Safety. 

“It is paramount that consumers use window coverings with no pull cords in their homes,” Kaiser said. She and her husband Matt formed Parents for Window Blind Safety in 2002, after their daughter, Cheyenne Rose, died as a result of being strangled by a window blind cord.

Top five hazard

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has long recognized window covering cords as a hidden strangulation and asphyxiation hazard to children and continues to identify it on its website as one of the “top five hidden hazards in the home.” The most vulnerable children are infants through eight years of age.

The rate of injuries and deaths has not been significantly reduced since 1983, despite six industry attempts at revising their voluntary standards, the CPSC said. The seventh revision of the voluntary standard is currently underway.

“These terrible tragedies can happen quickly and silently,” said William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. “We urge manufacturers and retailers to sell only those products that do not pose a risk of strangulation to children.”


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