Safety officials and industry affiliates strive to make window coverings safer for kids by applying better labels and educating consumers.
For adults, window cords are simply a tool for opening and closing blinds. For children, those cords can be deadly.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “about once a month a young child dies from a window cord strangulation.” During October, as part of National Window Covering Safety Month, the CPSC and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) are encouraging parents to check their blinds for dangling or exposed cords.
“Corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes—and they are a preventable hazard,” CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye said in a news release. “The Commission continues to work with manufacturers and retailers on bolder, more forward-looking actions that they can take to prevent child strangulations from accessible cords on window coverings.”
An example of such partnership is the Best for Kids certification program. The program identifies window-covering products that are safe for use in homes with young children. To participate in the program, manufacturers must have their products assessed at a laboratory recognized by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA).
Best in Kids products are currently available online and expected to be on retailer shelves by the end of 2015.
“We are pleased that many retailers are embracing the Best for Kids program,” WCMA Executive Director Ralph Vasami said in a news release. “The program provides clarity to retailers and consumers who now can easily identify those products that have been independently tested specifically to meet the program’s criteria. This criteria requires that the product either has no cords, no operating cords or the inner cords cannot be accessible or form a loop, as defined by the industry’s safety standard.”
In addition to encouraging the use of cordless window coverings, the WCSC and the CPSC also recommend the following precautions:
- Move all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces away from windows.
- Mount window guards or window stops to prevent children from falling from a window. If young children are in the home, ensure that windows cannot open more than 4 inches.