It’s National Window Safety Week. Nonetheless, you have a window of opportunity every day to help keep your little munchkin safe. Over 20 children a year in U.S. on average are strangled by a window covering cord. So…be on the lookout for window blinds with cords in your house and Grandma’s and get rid of them. Yes—replace them all with cordless window shades, blinds and drapes. Whatev. Just be sure they’re cordless window treatments. Going cordless is the only way to be 100 percent kid safe.
Cord blind chaos
Linsey Knerl, a mom of five from Tekamah, Nebraska, knows firsthand how dangerous window blinds with cords can be. One day, while watching TV with her three of her young boys, she decided to head to the kitchen to look up a recipe for dinner. She had just flipped open a cookbook when her oldest son, Micah, who was 4 at the time, came up beside her and said, “Mom, Baby Moses needs help.” Guessing that her 11-month-old had pushed his sippy cup under the living room couch, Knerl didn’t think much of it. After all, she could hear that Moses wasn’t crying.
“I said, ‘Okay, I’ll be there in a minute,’” Knerl says. But a second later, Micah was back. “No Mom, I really think Moses needs help,” he insisted, grabbing her hand and pulling her toward the living room, where Moses and middle brother, 3-year-old, Matthias, had been sitting on the couch. Micah was right. Linsey found Moses standing up against the back of the couch on tip toe, with the cord from the window blinds wrapped around his neck. “His face was a reddish purple, his eyes were bloodshot and he wasn’t breathing.” she says. “I started screaming and crying and so did the kids.”
Knerl quickly untangled Moses from the cord and he started to cry. Then she called her pediatrician, who told her that despite the ligature marks on Moses’ neck, he was fine because he was crying and drinking from his sippy cup—both healthy signs. “While standing up against the back of the sofa, Moses must have reached behind to play with the window blind cords and then rolled sideways standing up, which tightened the cord, practically lifting him off the couch,” Knerl says.
This frightening experience, which I reported on for Parents, could have easily ended in tragedy. The close call prompted Linsey’s husband to remove all 25 window blinds from their rural home, which had been installed years ago by Linsey’s parents, who owned the house originally. “On our farm, we have a whole different set of rules when it comes to safety. We had a wood-burning stove in the basement for a while. We have animals and electric fence. The window blinds just weren’t on my radar, but this experience taught me a lot,” she says.
Window cord caution
Knerl is far from alone in her near disaster with window blind cords. “Every year, cords from window blinds kill children,” says Elliot F. Kaye, chairman of the CPSC. “Corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes—and they are a preventable hazard.”
On Saferproducts.gov, you can report about your experience with unsafe product. Here’s what another (anonymous) mom said about her experience with corded window blinds:
“Kids will find a way to wrap or tie the cords around them. This has happened to two of our children where they climbed up on the back of the couch and someway got the cords around their necks and fell off the back of the couch with one and one was up on the short ledge and both got terrible rope burn gashes on their necks when they fell. luckily i was only a room away when it happened, but it can happen so fast and kids can do things we don’t expect them too. my daughter was 2 when it happened and my son 4.”
Reports like these are why SelectBlinds, a leading online retailer of custom window coverings, is now only selling cordless window blinds and they’re encouraging the industry to do the same.
Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urge caregivers and parents like you to replace window coverings with exposed or dangling cords, with cordless window coverings, which have cords that are inaccessible.
The CPSC says everyone with young children in the home (that includes grandparents) should buy cordless products, or window coverings with inaccessible cords, which can be found in stores nationwide. Consider it part of your baby-proofing plan, which I cover here.
There are so many cordless products available in different styles and colors, such as cordless drapes, sheers, light-filtering cordless shades, cordless blackout shades, cordless roman shades, cordless mini-blinds, faux wood blinds, shutters, cordless pleated shades, and cordless motorized shades to name a few.
All of these come in a variety of sizes, patterns, and fabrics from which to choose.
In lieu of cordless blinds, shades, and drapes, window darkening film is another safe option that also help reduce heating and cooling costs. (For more info, visit the International Window Film Association.)
Safe blinds are easy to spot
So you can tell which window blinds are safe for kids, you can shop at a 100% cordless retailers such as Selectblinds. Or, look for the Best for Kids certification seal when shopping for window coverings in general. The Window Covering Manufacturers Association launched the “Best for Kids” certification program to help consumers and retailers easily identify window covering products that are suitable for use in homes with infants and young children. Only manufacturers of window blinds that pass third-party testing are allowed to label their product with the “Best for Kids” certification seal.
Childproof Your Windows
To make sure your windows are safe, follow these basic guidelines:
- Install only cordless window coverings, or window coverings with inaccessible cords, including cordless drapes, in homes with young children. Think beyond the baby’s room. What about your living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, play room and den?
- Move all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces away from windows. Besides the threat of strangulation, windows are a major fall hazard.
- Mount window guards or window stops to prevent children from potentially falling from from a window. Window stops ensure that windows can’t open more than 4 inches if young children are in the home.
Project Cordless Giveaway!
In honor of National Window Safety Week, SelectBlinds is kicking off a Go Cordless campaign to educate and empower consumers and the window covering industry about the risks of window cord strangulation. The leading online retailer of custom window coverings is partnering with Parents for Window Blind Safety.
Each month, SelectBlinds.com will upgrade an entire home, apartment, military housing unit or daycare facility with custom cordless window coverings at no charge. To enter, go to www.selectblinds.com/gocordless.html#ProjectCordless to submit a 30-second video to nominate your friend, colleague or family member for Project Cordless. What should you say in your nomination video? Share your inspiring story of how your nomineee has shown strength in ways you never thought possible. Or, have someone nominate you! Nominations will be accepted now through 12 AM on January 1, 2017.
Have you tossed out your corded window coverings lately? Lemme know. Leave a comment on Facebook.
Copyright Sandra Gordon Baby Products Mom 2016.