How Corded Blinds Endanger Children

A recent article in The Washington Post about two more children taken prematurely from their families is a reminder of the dangers of corded blinds. The article is a tragic reminder of what can happen when parents turn their backs even for a moment. Because the article does not delve too deeply into the specifics related to deaths of children as a result of wrapping cords from window blinds around their necks, we have put together some additional information that every parent should know about.

Why Are Corded Blinds Dangerous?

Older blinds tend to have a loop in the cords, which presents a serious strangulation hazard. Newer blinds tend to have so-called “safety cords.” Instead of a loop, there are two separate cords with a plastic piece at each end. While this is safer than a loop, it actually creates a false sense of security. Even two separate cords can become entangled, as illustrated by the video below:

Kids can even become entangled in the inner cords which separate the slats of the blinds. This exposes a longer inner cord which can be a danger to children. Shortened cords can still be lengthened, and if the child wraps the cord around their neck, the endings on the safety cords can become entangled.

Who is Vulnerable to the Danger?

It’s not just toddlers that are vulnerable. There have been many deaths and injuries of children up to 10 years old. Yes, that’s right--10 years old. Even if you think your child who is seven or eight years old is old enough to know not to play with your window blinds, why take the risk? Many kids that age and younger can be antsy and love to twist around in blankets, curtains, and maybe even cords. The danger for the older children is that they no longer think that they are vulnerable. You can tell them that the cords are dangerous, but they figure they are too old for something to happen to them.

We need to get past this idea that this type of thing only happens to kids that are very young. Kids are adventurous by nature, and are not experienced enough to know how vulnerable they are to danger. This is exactly the type hazard that is most dangerous to children—one that they think that they have outgrown.

What Can You Do to Prevent Accidents?

The safest thing to do is get cordless blinds. They are slightly more expensive, but every other solution is a compromise that could end up giving you and your children a false sense of security. Virtually every solution, from safety cords to cutting or putting the cords out of reach, is imperfect at best. If you are not willing or can’t afford to spend the additional money to replace your blinds, you can order free retrofit kits online. While this still is not as safe as cordless blinds, it is still an improvement.

What Should Be Done?

The solution now and forever has been that the industry should go cordless. It is a simple solution that could spare thousands of families the pain that comes from death or serious injury from corded blinds. Of course, there have been numerous lawsuits regarding these issues, but the industry tends to blame the parents (as if they don’t have enough guilt and watch their kids at every moment) and also chooses profit margins over safety.

Undoubtedly, safety cords and the education of the general public on these issues have helped to shrink the number of deaths and injuries from these blinds to the point that from a business standpoint the blind manufacturers can choose profit over safety. Unfortunately, the Consumer Products Safety Commission has not forced all manufacturers to adopt cordless blinds. Until that happens, the best that we can do is to buy cordless blinds and to pressure stores to refrain from carrying corded blinds. Target and Ikea already sell only cordless blinds.

Contact a Washington, DC Personal Injury Lawyer Today

These types of cases are the most heartbreaking. Most parents have some knowledge of the danger of these cords. However, they think their cords are safe because there is no loop, they have educated their children, they are conscientious parents, or they have taken steps to make things apparently safe. When children die, parents often blame themselves and have to live with the What if’s? for the rest of their lives. We urge anyone who reads this to at least educate their children and take steps to make their blinds safer.

To speak with a Washington, DC personal injury attorney, please contact Simeone & Miller, LLP.