Shop Notes

Blind cords kill hundreds of children, report says

Posted: April 20, 2015 | Tags: Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC, Fair Warning, WCMA, Window Covering Manufacturers Association

Three-year-old Voxie had a fascination with necklaces. Chesshuwa Beckett, Voxie’s mother, thinks that this fascination attracted her daughter to the blind cord one day in August 2012, after she and her husband, Erik, had put the toddler and her 2-year-old brother down for an afternoon nap. When the Becketts, both high school teachers in Sacramento, California, stopped by the bedroom to check on the children, they found Voxie’s lifeless body: The cord had strangled her. Fourteen months later, 2-year-old Colton Shero died in his suburban Chattanooga, Tennessee, home. A blind cord killed him, two days before his second birthday. Voxie and Colton are only two of the hundreds of American children who died that way in the past 30 years, according to a report published recently by the California-based nonprofit FairWarning. In 1981 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission identified the dangers window blind cords pose to children under 5. Since then, the commission has worked with the industry to develop security measures. Yet children continue to die at a rate of almost one per month, the report says.

Consumer groups proposed to ban new blinds with cords if the cords can’t be kept away from children. The industry opposed this proposal and is instead relying on "a patchwork of voluntary fixes that have provided only an illusion of safety and have in some cases made the cord hazard worse," according to FairWarning's story.

Some of the main findings of the report:

  • At least 332 children, most of them under the age of 2, have been fatally strangled by window cords over the last 30 years, according to data compiled by the commission.
  • At least 165 have been injured, including some who suffered permanent brain damage or quadriplegia requiring lifelong care and therapy, according to the nonprofit group Parents for Window Blind Safety.
  • Corded blinds account for an estimated 75 percent of the industry’s roughly $2 billion in annual sales in the U.S.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that making cordless products exclusively could drive up the industry’s manufacturing costs as much as $619 million a year, or about $5.50 per wall covering


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