Recent strangulation deaths in infants from window covering cords have prompted a new cry for increased action from federal regulators. The Consumer Federation of America pointed to the death of four children in twenty two days earlier this year to highlight the ongoing problem. A 6-year-old Maryland girl was killed on February 8th, a 3-year-old Texas girl on February 15th, a 4-year-old boy in Georgia on February 17th and a 2-year-old boy in Maryland on March 1st of this year. Tragically, these deaths were not entirely unforeseen. Statistically, twelve children are strangled every year from the loops formed from window covering cords. Moreover, this rate has remained constant since 1983, with no reduction, despite attempts at industry voluntary standards.
A number of consumer advocate and safety groups are now calling for a strong mandatory standard from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC has long recognized the hidden dangers of strangulation and asphyxiation in children from window coverings, noting it is one of the top five hidden hazards in the home on its website. Over the years the CPSC has recalled millions of shades, blinds and window coverings because of these dangers.
Designs that render pull cods inaccessible have been available since the 1990’s. However, because separated cord tassles have been allowed as a compliant design, marketing of these alternatives has been more difficult for these small innovative manufacturers.
Its time for the CPSC to act.