Over 200 children in the U.S. have died in the last two decades from strangulation in window-cord related accidents with blinds and shades, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This issue has been back in the news this week – the Chicago Tribune wrote about the real-life tragedies that illustrate why eliminating risk from corded window coverings is so essential.
The potential danger of window cords has been well known for years. Despite consumer education efforts and millions of recalled window products, the annual child fatality rate has remained steady; yet, window covering manufacturers are reluctant to eliminate the hazard from their products. Under current federal law, the CPSC is not able to issue mandatory safety requirements unless they can prove that the voluntary safety guidelines are ineffective, or that most manufacturers aren't following them.
Regulators and safety advocates have tried recalls, but these frequently go unnoticed by many consumers, and they don't actually eliminate the strangulation hazard from window blinds. In 2009, millions of Roman shades were recalled after regulators were notified of five deaths and 16 near-strangulations in the products over a three-year period.