What you need to know about window blind safety
Written by: Dev Gowda
At the beginning of October, IKEA announced that it will only carry blinds with no cords or inaccessible cords in all of its global stores by January 2016. Kids In Danger (KID) spoke to Linda Kaiser from Parents for Window Blind Safety to find out what this change means in terms of ongoing safety and what parents can do to keep their kids safe with regards to window blinds.
What makes this move a big win for window blind safety?
This sets the tone for other retailers to join in and start going cordless. Our hope is that all retailers go cordless. This is a huge statement made by retailers alerting the public on how dangerous these cords can be to kids. It’s also important to note that just one single accessible cord can kill a child. Many products consumers think are safe are not safe at all.
What about window blinds poses a hazard to kids?
It’s a hazard that is in plain sight, and you don’t even think it could kill a child. Single pull cord blinds look so safe, but they can be wrapped around the necks of children in seconds, which causes loss of consciousness. Kids can’t call for help. They are especially dangerous when you think about how kids play– they use the cords to wrap around their neck for dramatic play (as a pretend necklace, to imitate Rapunzel from Tangled, when acting as superheros). Just think about how many movies you see for kids where someone is swinging from something.
What other steps have been taken to prevent children from being harmed by window blinds?
Sadly, not much. We’re still waiting for the CPSC to move forward on our petition regarding inaccessible cords on window blinds for US windows. Unfortunately, the hazard just doesn’t go away with retailers going cordless in stores, as products with hazardous accessible cords can still be purchased online. Custom products have not been dealt with, and until manufactures decide that the lives of children are worth it, we see a desperate need for mandatory rulemaking.
On the positive side, in the past 10 years Parents for Window Blind Safety has been testing window covering products and placing our Seal of Approval on products that pass our first class safety criteria. We have recently united with third party labs to further broaden our testing procedures. This Seal of Approval program is set out to eliminate the strangulation hazards that corded window coverings may present and to ensure consumers can make the most appropriate buying decisions.
How can parents keep their children safe with regards to window blinds?
The first step is to know that one single accessible cord can hurt a child. Stop trusting in devices that have failed to keep kids safe. If you know that, then you can make the effort to not have window-covering products with pull cords in your home. It’s also important to realize that kids can access cords that are “tied up out of reach,” as oftentimes all they have to do is stand on the windowsill.
There are many affordable cordless products available on the market today. The good news is that many can be purchased for around $20 for standard size windows. Temporary shades can be purchased for a few dollars and placed in homes until the consumers decide what type of window covering best suits their needs.
For more information about window blind safety, visit Parents for Window Blind Safety’s website or check out their video, In An Instant. For more information on product safety, go to Kids In Danger and follow us on Facebook.