Horrific stories of accidental child strangulation from window blinds have circulated the news lately, frightening parents around the nation. Due to the safety concerns that these fixtures pose, laws now require window blinds to be designed differently. Companies will no longer be allowed to sell blinds with long cords, as a young child could easily get them wrapped around their neck. Manufacturers may only sell cordless blinds or blinds with very short cords, according to Today.
This new requirement is long overdue, as statistics show that these types of appliances have been hazardous to children for years. A report published in the medical journal Pediatrics, stated that from 1990 to 2016, 17,000 children have been rushed to the hospital due to an accident involving window blinds. In many cases, the child had slipped away from their parent’s view for only a minute or two. That was all it took for them to become entangled in the cord and strangled.
New window blinds standards to prevent child death take effect https://t.co/ontfbUyokx— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 17, 2018
Ralph Vasami, the executive director of the industry group Window Covering Manufacturers Association, issued a public statement regarding the new safety standard.
“The standard’s new requirements segments the market into custom and stock, and requires all stock products, sold in stores and online, to be cordless or have inaccessible or short cords,” he said.
Custom blinds with the longer cord can still be ordered in the case of special circumstances such as a physical disability. However, they won’t be sold in stores or found online. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission hopes that the change will help prevent these tragedies in American homes. The new legislation is also meant to reiterate to parents the danger that common household appliances can pose to young children. Most families with children know to child-proof their house. They may nail down heavy pieces of furniture and place child locks on cabinets and shelves. However, curtain blinds are often overlooked as a potential safety concern.
The danger of window coverings was brought into the spotlight in 2016 when NFL running back Reno Mahe lost his daughter to accidental strangulation. The 3-year-old had been playing with a friend in the family home and was later found dead after pulling on the blinds and getting wrapped up in the cord. The tragic incident opened up conversation about how to redesign these fixtures to remove the danger they pose. Finally, real action has now been taken that will hopefully save the lives of countless children.