Oct. 4, 2011
The designation of October as National Window Covering Safety Month is an annual effort to raise awareness about the potential strangulation danger of dangling window covering cords. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) have joined forces in this effort to make parents aware of the need to maximize window-cord safety when young children are present.
The CPSC has identified window coverings with cords as one of the top five hidden hazards in the home, citing the fact that more than 200 infants and young children have died from accidental strangulation in window cords since 1990. In recent years, the CPSC has recalled more than 5 million window coverings, including Roman shades, roller and roll-up blinds, vertical and horizontal blinds.
To maximize window-cord safety when young children are present, consumers are urged to follow these safety guidelines:
- Install only cordless window coverings in homes with young children. Replace window blinds, corded shades and draperies manufactured before 2001 with today’s safer products.
- Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.
- Keep all window pull cords and inner lift cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled pull cords are short and continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the floor or wall. Make sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement of inner lift cords.
- Lock cords into position whenever horizontal blinds or shades are lowered, including when they come to rest on a windowsill.
If you prefer to keep your older window treatments, the Window Covering Safety Council offers information on how to retrofit older window treatments and also offers retro kits free of charge that consumers can order online or by calling 1-800-506-4636.