No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks! Summer vacation is just around the corner and as children spend more time around the house these next few months, the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) is reminding consumers to check their homes for potential safety hazards.
Since 2000, nearly 40 percent of window-cord strangulations reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have involved children between the ages of 3 and 6. Toddlers frequently become entangled in window cords while climbing furniture to look out a window. In particular during summertime with windows open and shades drawn, the more exposed cords cause a heightened risk.
Consumers can eliminate or severely reduce a child's access to windows and cords by following these safety rules:
- Move all cribs and furniture as far away from windows as possible, preferably against another wall.
- Install cord stops on horizontal blinds and mini-blinds to prevent inner-cord access.
- Secure all pull-cords out of reach by using a cleat or permanent tie-down device.
- Eliminate looped pull-cords on older (pre-1995) mini-blinds and shades by cutting the loop and attaching safety tassels to the pull-cord ends.
Those purchasing new window-covering products should ensure that the products they buy adhere to current window-covering safety standards and do not have looped pull-cords or inner cords that can be pulled to form a loop.
Some homeowners are purchasing products that have no cords at all. From old-fashioned cordless blinds to remote-controlled roller shades, the window covering industry is developing innovative cordless and motorized window-covering products that are more visually appealing to sophisticated consumers and easier to install than in the past.
While the industry's commitment to safety is clear, many consumers still have not taken steps to update window-covering products in their homes. It is important for consumers to consider the seriousness of the situation, as the CPSC has received reports of more than 140 strangulation cases involving window-blind cords since 1991 and warns that it is important to protect children up to the age of 6 from window-cord hazards.
WCSC initiates ongoing educational campaigns for consumers, including partnerships with professional health organizations, distribution of safety posters, and other outreach programs. WCSC also distributes free cord-repair kits to consumers through its toll-free hotline: 800-506-4636. Millions of residential blinds have been repaired with these kits.
More information and demonstrations of cord hazards and appropriate methods of repair are available at www.windowcoverings.org.
By taking these simple steps, one's family will have a fun and safe summer at no cost to themselves.