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Blinds and window coverings might seem harmless, but their cords can be deadly for young children and infants.
The best way to keep children from becoming entangled in these cords is to replace your blinds with cordless versions, advises the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).
"Children have strangled to death on the cords of window blinds, shades, draperies and other window coverings, and this can happen in mere moments, even with an adult nearby," CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler said in a commission news release. "The safest option when young children are present is to go cordless."
Strangulation can occur in less than a minute and is silent, so you may not be aware it is happening even if you're nearby.
About nine children aged 5 and younger die each year from strangulation in window blinds, shades, draperies and other window coverings, according to the CPSC.
Nearly 200 additional incidents involving children up to age 8 happened because of window-covering cords between January 2009 and December 2020. Injuries included scars around the neck, quadriplegia and permanent brain damage.
Pull cords, continuous loop cords, inner cords or any other accessible cords on window coverings are all dangerous to young children.
Cordless window coverings are labeled as cordless. They are available at most major retailers and online, and include inexpensive options. The CPSC advises replacing blinds with cords in all rooms where a child may be present.
If you cannot replace your blinds that have cords, the CPSC recommends that you eliminate any dangling cords by making the pull cords as short as possible. Keep all window-covering cords out of the reach of children.
You can also ensure that cord stops are installed properly and adjusted to limit the movement of inner lift cords. Anchor continuous-loop cords for draperies or blinds to the floor or wall.
Keep all cribs, beds and baby furniture away from windows. Move them to another wall, the CPSC advises.
Children's Hospital Los Angeles offers additional safety tips for homes with young children and infants.
SOURCE: Consumer Product Safety Commission, news release, Oct. 5, 2021
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