Most homeowners and renters across the nation have window blinds in their homes, but too few are aware of the significant risk these products can pose to children in their households. If you are a parent of young children, there are multiple important steps you can take to make your window blinds safe and reduce the risk of a terrible accident.
Although the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) recently made it mandatory for retailers to sell only stock window blinds that are cordless or have inaccessible cords, many consumers choose to buy custom coverings, which may or may not feature cords. Even supposedly safe cordless products can carry certain hazards that parents of small children need to be aware of and remedy.
If you have suffered the unfathomable situation of a child injured or killed in a window blind cord accident, we are here for you. OnderLaw oversees more wrongful death claims from window blinds than any other firm in the nation.
Our team of experienced and trusted window blind litigation attorneys advocate tirelessly for parents across the country. We regularly litigate personal injury, product liability, and wrongful death lawsuits against window blind manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to seek justice, accountability, and change for the losses their dangerous products inflict on consumers.
Leading Causes of Window Blind Cord Injuries and Fatalities
Window blind cords are a potential strangulation hazard in many forms, including more glaringly obvious dangers like dangling cords as well as hidden cords. Some of the most common causes of window blind cord injuries and fatalities in children are strangulation incidents resulting from continuous cord loops, standard pull cords, operating cords, and tied-up or knotted pull cords.
Even inner cords, which are regularly featured in both stock and custom window coverings, can pose a terrible risk of strangulation if a young child becomes entangled in them. Inner cords are commonly found in a wide variety of window blind styles, such as Roman shades, horizontal blinds, and pleated shades. In fact, many blinds marketed as cordless window coverings still feature inner cords. Those inner cords can become knotted or tangled, which creates an instant safety hazard.
Sometimes, features that accompany the cords or are even designed to reduce the risk of strangulation can heighten the potential of an entanglement incident. For example, some users may install tension devices to try to prevent cords from becoming tangled. The trouble is, if installed incorrectly, these devices may not be effective and fail to properly mitigate risk of strangulation.
Cord cleats are an option to wrap cords around a single device affixed to the wall, ideally keeping the cords out of reach of little hands. However, if these come loose or unraveled, the hazard remains. Then, there are devices like cord connectors, which, in theory, could reduce cord accessibility by joining multiple cords together. In reality, they form a dangerous or deadly loop that can lead to a strangulation incident.
One of the most terrifying realities about window blind cord strangulation incidents is that they can happen in moments, often seconds. A curious child may reach upward from their crib, climb on a piece of furniture, or simply reach up to an easily accessible cord to play with it, and in seconds become entangled in it, unable to breathe, and unable to communicate that they need help.
Cordless window blind technology has been around for decades at this point. Still, the window blind industry continues to circulate dangerous corded products onto the market in the service of the almighty dollar. This perpetuates a cycle of pain and suffering from the horrific strangulation incidents that have caused hundreds of child injuries and deaths over the years.
Important Steps to Make Your Window Blinds Safe for Children
There are multiple ways to make your window blinds safe for children and ensure that your home is free of the most glaring window covering hazards that could inflict serious or life-threatening injuries.
Replace Corded Window Blinds
The first and most hazard-proof approach is to replace all corded window coverings in your home with cordless products. Of course, completely replacing your corded window blinds may be very costly. If you cannot replace all your window blinds at the same time, start with the rooms your children spend the most time in, such as the bedroom, playroom, living room, etc. As you work to phase out corded products from your home, there are other additional steps you can take to make your windows safer for your children.
One temporary fix is to cut any window blind cords short, so they are out of reach and don’t pose a strangulation risk. This isn’t a permanent fix, but if you are waiting for new blinds to come in or are replacing your corded blinds slowly, this could help.
Whether you’re able to replace your corded window blind coverings in one fell swoop or need to do so one window at a time, you should move furniture that your children could use to climb onto away from windows in any room they’re in. For example, a table, crib, or couch near a window should be moved to a different part of the room away from any window coverings in sight.
Order Retrofit Kits
You can order free retrofit kits from the Window Covering Safety Council (many retailers offer these as well) to alleviate some of the most common hazards these corded blinds present. These kits could help you replace cords for certain types of blinds with clips or rings that secure the blinds when pulled up. A retrofit kit is not typically a long-term solution: the final goal should still be the total replacement of any corded coverings in your home with cordless or inaccessible cord options.
We Will Not Stop in Our Fight to Make Window Blinds Safer for Children
Even though stock window coverings are supposed to be cordless, many consumers still have old, corded blinds in their houses. This fact, and the wide availability of corded custom window blind products, all boils down to the unacceptable reality that window blind hazards remain easily in reach of vulnerable children in households across the country.
OnderLaw is unwavering in our goal to ensure that all corded window coverings are ultimately eradicated and off the market. In addition to taking the necessary steps to reduce and eliminate window blind hazards in your home, our compassionate attorneys can offer legal advice and assistance if your child has been harmed in a window blind incident. Call us today to receive a free and confidential consultation with one of our reliable window blind litigation attorneys.