Window cords account for roughly one death a month, and present a risk for children as old as 9, the CPSC says.
“We’ve known about this problem since the 1940s, yet we continue to see these deaths. This is simply unacceptable because we know how to prevent them,” said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and author of the study, in a statement.
Most people don’t look at the cords hanging from their window covers and see danger. But the Walla family does. That’s because 15 years ago, a then-3-year-old Gavin Walla became entangled in the cords of a blind and came close to dying. A new study in the journal Pediatrics confirms what the Wallas have long known — window covering cords are hazardous.
The study found that over 26 years emergency departments treated almost 17,000 children for strangulation from window covering cords. Of those cases, 271 children died.
Gavin Walla was lucky that his mom spotted him when she did and untangled him from the blinds. She inadvertently captured Gavin’s accident in a harrowing video. The family shares the video to educate others about the dangerous of window covering cords.
“I could have died from that very small thing,” Gavin Walla told TODAY.
“Window covering cord strangulation is a persistent, but hidden danger,” said Kim Dulic, a press and public affairs officer at CPSC. She said three manufacturers — Target, Select Blinds and Ikea — offer cordless window coverings. By 2018, she said, that list will expand to include Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Home Depot.
“There are affordable cordless blinds and shades on the market now that are safe. What we need is for all manufacturers to simply eliminate accessible cords in their products. That’s the solution,” he said. “No parent can watch their child every second of every day. That’s why it’s important to couple supervision with products that are safe for children.”
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