As a parent, your life is dedicated to protecting the life and health of your child. You never let your child play with a toy before you had read the safety warnings, removed all tags, and made the toy as safe as possible. You are always nearby when your child plays, even if he is playing with a friend or sibling. You have baby-proofed your home to remove sharp edges and block off dangerous areas... but there could still be a hidden danger lurking in every room.
Window Blind Cords Pose a Serious Strangulation Threat to Young Children
The cords used to open and close window blinds have been injuring and even killing children for over 35 years. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) first responded to the dangers of window blind cords in 1981, identifying them as a major cause of strangulation for children under five.
According to the CPSC, over 300 children have been fatally injured by window blind cords, most of them under two years old. Nearly 200 more have suffered injuries, such as irreparable brain damage that requires lifelong medical and personal care, with one child suffering serious injuries every month.
In most cases, children were strangled in under two minutes. Some were injured even with a friend or sibling present, and most children had either a parent or caretaker only one room away.
Window Covering Manufacturers Resist Changing Their Products
Despite the known dangers of these blinds, manufacturers have resisted adopting cordless technology. While cordless blinds became widely available in the 1990s, many window treatment companies insist that some types of blinds cannot be made cordless.
There are many ways companies have continued to dodge responsibility for corded blind injuries, including:
- Lax regulations. The CPSC does not directly oversee all company safety violations, but expects each industry to develop its own safety protocols. Unfortunately, this means that all companies are asked to willingly change products that are harmful, even if these products are profitable. Not only are manufacturers loath to make costly changes, they face no real regulatory action for doing so.
- Resistance to bans. Many consumer groups have called for a ban on all new blind products that have cords, but so far, none have been federally adopted. Blind companies have fought the measures, insisting that a ban on corded products would mean retiring popular (and profitable) styles, and that parents should simply keep corded blinds away from children.
- Improper warnings. These companies are required to place warnings on all corded blinds--particularly the hazards of strangulation—but there are many ways such warnings can be overlooked. Families may move into homes where the blinds have already been installed, or parents may tie up the blinds in an effort to make them shorter without actually decreasing the risk to children.
As if the loss of a child isn’t terrible enough, blind companies named in lawsuits have denied their involvement in child deaths and injuries, even going so far as to place the blame on the parents for not watching their children at all times. The truth is that these companies have a duty to build a safe household product for family members of all ages, and must properly warn of the dangers of potential injury.
If your child was seriously injured or killed due to an accident with a window blind cord, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Call Wayne Wright LLP today at 800-237-3334 and a dangerous products lawyer will listen to your story at no cost to you. Your call is free, and you will pay us nothing unless we win your case.