Nearly Half of Children Caught in Window Covering Cords Die, CPSC Warns

In addition to deaths from window covering cords, children have suffered scars, permanent brain damage, and quadriplegia, according to the CPSC.

Over the past few decades, childhood injuries from window blind cords have increased, according to a new warning issued by federal regulators, which indicates nearly half of the incidents result in death.

Cords from window blinds, shades and other coverings can lead to strangulation and other serious injuries in young children. Despite attempts in recent years to recall a number of dangerous products and warn parents about the hidden risk that exists in many homes, new data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates these window entanglement accidents continue to occur with alarming frequency and consequences.

As part of a National Window Covering Safety Month in October 2022, the CPSC issued a new warning this week to make sure parents and caregivers are aware that window blind cords can quickly cause young children to suffer serious injuries, including brain damage and even death.

Window Covering Cord Risks

According to the CPSC, every year, an average of nine children under the age of five years old die from strangulation after being caught in window blinds, shades, draperies and other window coverings with cords.

“Young children can quickly and silently become strangled on pull cords, continuous loop cords, inner cords or any other accessible cords on window coverings,” said CPSC Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric. “Cordless window blinds, shades, draperies and other window coverings are the safest option.”

More than 200 window covering cord incidents occurred from January 2009 to December 2021, the CPSC reports. The incidents involved children under the age of 8 years old and were due to strangulation hazards from window covering cords.

Of those incidents, 48% led to the death of the child. Other injuries caused by window covering cords included scars, permanent brain damage, and quadriplegia.

CPSC Recommends Cordless Window Coverings

To prevent tragic and preventable child deaths, the CPSC urges consumers to take the time to choose cordless window coverings.

The commission issued a voluntary cordless blinds standard in 2018. The rule called for manufacturers to follow new and evolving safety standards for all window coverings to be cordless.

Additionally, the CPSC recently issued two draft final rules on corded window coverings. The first establishes performance requirements for safe operating cords on customer window coverings. The second categorizes operating cords and inner cords on stock window coverings, and inner cords on custom window coverings, as product hazards.

If finalized, the two rules would address the risk of strangulation deaths and injuries to children eight years old and younger on stock and custom window covering cords.

The CPSC warns consumers should buy and install cordless window coverings in all rooms where a child may be present to help ensure children’s safety. Affordable, cordless window coverings are available from most major retailers.

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If consumers are unable to replace existing window coverings with cordless ones the CPSC recommends these steps:

  • Eliminate dangling cords by making the pull cords as short as possible
  • Keep all window covering cords out of the reach of children
  • Ensure that cord stops are installed properly and adjusted to limit the movement of inner lift cords
  • Anchor to the floor or wall continuous-loop cords for draperies and blinds.
  • Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window covering cords

For more information, visit the CPSC’s Window Covering Safety Education Center.


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