NEW YORK, NY – Despite what many parents may think, the potential hazards of window coverings are not exclusive to infants and newborns. Curious toddlers may climb onto low-standing furniture or bookcases, either to peek out a window or to use the window cord as a toy.
In the eyes of an imaginative young child, a window cord can become a cowboy lasso, a necklace or a Tarzan-type vine to swing from. A child needs only to grab hold of a cord and spin around to end up winding the window cord around his neck.
In these circumstances children may unknowingly create a noose and put themselves in a dangerous position that can lead to accidental strangulation.
Children often may see window cords as a toy and not realize their potential dangers. According to safety experts, accidents are more likely to occur once a child reaches the age of three or four during active play. That is why parents and caregivers must step up to protect them and restrict children’s access to window areas. Fortunately, this is easy to do.
Be sure to place all low-standing furniture such as toy-chests, low couches and bookshelves, beanbag chairs and large cachepots for indoor plants away from windows in rooms where children play and spend time. These items could unintentionally serve as “hidden stepstools” to help a small child reach a window or window cord. Cribs and beds should also be removed from window areas as children could easily reach up and grab a window cord.
Another less thought-of potential hazard is the crib itself. Cribs are often highly decorated to draw attention and look nice, but these decorations can pose a potential threat to infants. Frilly and fluffy comforters or pillows will look good in a crib, but they might accidentally smother a baby. Mattresses should also fit snugly with no room between the edge of the mattress and the sides of the crib.
In addition, cribs should be sturdy, properly assembled and in good repair. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that parents replace any crib that is 10 years or older to ensure that it meets the latest safety standards.
Whenever possible, place the crib on a wall without windows, since most reports of accidental window-cord strangulation involve window cords within reach of a crib or playpen. Government safety officials and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) recommend that only cordless window coverings be used in homes with young children. At a minimum, parents and caregivers are urged to retrofit or to replace all older window coverings with today’s safer products.
Making the switch to cordless window coverings does not necessarily mean spending more money or changing your interior design. A wide variety of cordless window coverings are available for all types of budgets and decorating schemes. For more information about window-cord safety, visit the Window Covering Safety Council’s website at www.windowcoverings.org. Free retrofit kits can also be ordered from WCSC online or by phoning their toll-free number at 1-800-506-4636.
The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) is a coalition of major U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings dedicated to educating consumers about window cord safety. The Council also assists and supports its members in the industry’s ongoing efforts to encourage the use of cordless products in homes with young children, its redesign of corded products, and its support of the national ANSI/WCMA standard for corded window coverings. WCSC’s activities in no way constitute an assumption of any legal duty owed by its members or any other entity.