Tragically, each year toddlers between the ages of 16 and 36 months old are killed by strangulation accidents involving cords from draperies and blinds. Research shows that most accidents happen in the bedroom and more than half involve toddlers at the age of 23 months.
According to PreventionTown, although toddlers are mobile, their heads are still proportionately heavy in contrast to their bodies and their muscular control is not fully developed, making it difficult for them to extricate themselves should they become entangled. Complicating matters even more is the fact that their windpipes are also still developing and not yet rigid like those of older children and adults, meaning they suffocate more quickly.
As is often the case with drownings, strangulation accidents often happen very quickly and quietly, and frequently when a parent or caregiver is close by. To reduce the risks of cord accidents, all cords should be shortened and kept out of the reach of children (and pets as well). In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) identifies corded window coverings as one of the top five hidden hazards in the home and recommends the use of cordless window coverings in all homes with small children.
October is Window Covering Safety Month, an awareness campaign sponsored by WCSC (the Window Covering Safety Council) and CPSC, (the Consumer Product Safety Commission), and is a perfect time to eliminate the threat altogether by replacing corded blinds and draperies with safer options such as:
- Motorized window treatments – This lets you keep the style you like without potentially dangerous cords. You control the opening and closing of your draperies, blinds or shades via remote control or with the flick of a light switch.
- Use roller shades for nighttime privacy and to protect floors and furniture from UV damage during the day and top them with a pretty valance to soften the look. Roller shades can also be semi-transparent and treated to protect against UV rays, if you prefer a lighter look.
- You also have the option of motorized “top down, bottom up” shades or blinds so that you can more precisely control the amount of privacy and light you want.
- You can have roller shades covered in the fabric of your choice for a look that’s both tailored and decorative (and cordless!).
- Plantation shutters are another option that are cordless and attractive from both inside and outside the house, and allow for maximum light, privacy and view control.
And remember, just because most cord accidents happen in the bedroom doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t happen in other rooms. Toddlers are tireless explorers who like to climb so be wary of things like window seats with corded blinds and choose a cordless treatment instead, like this pretty patterned one. In addition, the WCSC recommends the following safety precautions:
- Move all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces away from windows.
- Keep any existing window cords out of the reach of children and replace window coverings with cords with cordless ones.
- Make sure tasselled pull cords are as short as possible and looped cords on draperies and blinds are pulled tight and secured to the floor.
- Be sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit inner cord movement.
As with all hazards, prevention is the best strategy, and parents who take the time to inspect their windows and make them safe for their children will have one less thing to worry about.
Just Blinds has served the Central Alabama region for more than 30 years and have built a reputation based on providing quality products and superior service. Contact us to schedule a free on-site consultation today!