There are so many various products on the market, some which claim to be safer than others. Safety devices and many retrofits attached to cords have failed to prevent strangulation in hundreds of cases in the USA. Exposed loose inner cords and even short cords (which can be pulled on to create a dangerous long length), have been involved in several accidents of the most diligent parents. Kids typically use cords in dramatic play and will use whatever they can to reach them. Cordless window coverings create a safe sleep and play environment for kids, can be cost effective and they look fabulous. Due to the ease of operation, the elderly and disabled communities prefer cordless window coverings over corded products.
Here is what to look for:
- No pull cords to raise and lower.
- No Tilt cords to allow light in.
- Tight inner cords that won’t make a loop for a small head to fit through.
Cord safety can be very confusing because all window covering products with ANY cords must have a warning label, even the cordless ones. We are working on this issue.
Look for the Parents for Window Blind Safety Seal of Approval. Our safety seal is only given to window coverings that do not have hazardous cords that can hurt kids. Second, if you cannot find blinds with PFWBS Seal of Approval, look for the Best for Kids certification mark on products. When you see these marks, you know the product has passed cordless testing by a third party lab.
It is so important to report an unsafe product.
Information taken from the accident can help manufacturers, government officials and safety advocates by knowing key details on how to work together in creating safer products. Your information is vital in saving future children.
- Loops created by knotted or tangled cord.
- One or more long cords which the child wrapped around the neck.
- Loop above a single tassel of the cord.
- Loop above the stop ball of the cord.
- Loop created when pull-cord was tied to another object, usually on the wall.
Source: APNR Document, Docket No. CPSC-2013-0028 Table 2
In the last 20 years, more than 1600* children were treated for near-strangulation in U.S. emergency rooms. Children ranged in age from 14 months to 8 years. 65% of children who strangled to death on window cords were 5 years old; 35% were 3 years old. The older age groups, 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds, suffered less severe outcomes.
*Footnote: According to the emergency department-treated injury data (NEISS), US Consumer Product Safety Commission staff estimates that from 1996 to 2012, children received treatment for 1,590 injuries resulting from entanglements on window covering cords. APNR Document
Children have died in licensed daycares and on military posts throughout the nation. A national cordless law is needed to ban hazardous accessible cords from military housing and early childhood development centers. All sleep environments should be safe for kids.
You might think that window coverings sold in America are safe – especially if they say they were tested or pass the industry standard. However, hundreds of children have strangled on blinds and shades that pass the standard. Why? Because industry self-polices and writes its own standard. The current industry standard allows for long, accessible cords that can and do strangle children.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates the safety of various products in the USA. PFWBS petitioned the CPSC in 2013 asking for a mandatory rule to written into the safety standard preventing long hazardous cords from being manufactured on products. We are still waiting for this rule to be enforced.
- CPSC Window Covering Information Center
- CPSC APNR Docket Corded Window Blinds
- Deaths and Injuries are under reported
- Are your Window Coverings safe?
- Statement from CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye
- Trilateral Letter to the WCMAJuly 2014 Letter CPSC Position on Cord Cleats. CPSC States Using Cleats Are Not Effective
- International Product Alignment Initiative Document
Which product design includes hazardous cords?