Child Deaths Prompt New Regulations for Window Blinds
Could the window blinds in your home be posing a serious threat to your child’s safety? Unless they are cordless blinds, the answer is frighteningly, yes, according to a new article from the New York Times.
While in the past several years manufacturers have added safety features and provided parents with cautionary tips on their products, current statistics show that window blinds are still to blame for an average of one death per month due to strangulation by cords.
These grim statistics have motivated the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take action. The CPSC has stepped in and challenged the industry ”to devise a way to eliminate the risks from window cords or perhaps face mandatory regulations.” The Times reports that manufacturers have stepped up in reponse and are now working with a task force of regulators and consumer advocates, promising a fix by the fall.
While there is hope in this new convergence, unfortunately the manufacturers and consumer advocates have failed, thus far, to agree of what ‘safe’ really means. While blind manufacturers have offered several fixes to reduce risk, the task force stands firm that these efforts are not enough and the goal should not be to decrease risk but to eliminate it all together.
“It was my understanding that we were eliminating the hazard,” said Carol Pollack-Nelson, a safety consultant and member of the task force. “Now they are talking about reducing the hazard. We don’t want reduced strangulation. We want no chance of it.”
According to the Times, Ralph J. Vasami, executive director of the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, said it was unrealistic to expect the industry to eliminate every possible hazard. “Window blinds are not children’s products, he said, nor are they defective.” He goes on to imply that it’s a parent’s responsibility to take precaution around such products in order to keep their children safe and urges parents of young children to install cordless shades if they have concerns.
While the task force suggests ceasing the production of any blinds except cordless is an obvious solution to solving the problem entirely, manufacturers point out that cordless styles are more difficult to produce than corded blinds and can cost twice as much to make.
While Vasami predicts the number of deaths “will inevitably decline as older products are replaced by those with more safety features,” parents who have tragically lost a child to cord strangulation are taking a more assertive approach. One couple recently founded the Parents for Window Blind Safety, while all agree that anything that can be done to prevent another family from enduring the pain they have gone through is worth whatever it takes.
Share your thoughts on this issue. Do you think manufacturers are correct in their assertion that parents are ultimately responsible for keeping their children safe, regardless of the overall safety of a product— or do you side with the task force and believe it’s a manufacturer’s job to provide completely hazard-free products, no matter the cost?Add a Comment