Two Recent Strangulation Deaths from Window Blind CordsWarning for Consumers: Any Accessible Outer Cords on Window Coverings Can Strangle a Child

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Accidents striking four weeks apart, Reno Mahe's family and a Chicago family mourn the loss of their children due to unnecessary window covering pull cords. Why is this still happening?

Everything is within a child's reach when they are involved in dramatic play.

Window coverings manufactured today are passed as safe by the ANSI safety standard, while still including unnecessary lethal outer cords.

As families celebrate the holiday season, two families are mourning the losses of their young children who strangled in dangerous window blind cords. Parents for Window Blind Safety (PFWBS) warns consumers that ANY accessible outer cords on window coverings - including pull and tilt cords, and also on loose inner cords - can strangle children who play near the window.

“Consumers must be aware that even newly purchased window coverings – including those with a label indicating compliance with the ANSI industry safety standard - can cause strangulation if they have any accessible outer cords,” stated Linda Kaiser, Founder and President of Parents for Window Blind Safety. “The latest two strangulation deaths both involved products that complied with the industry standard.”

The most recent strangulation occurred on November 22, 2016. Three-year-old Elise Mahe from Lehi, Utah suffered severe brain trauma after becoming entangled in the cords of a blind in her home. Her mother found her unresponsive and quickly began CPR. Elsie lost her battle to survive yesterday, on November 29, 2016. Elise is the tenth child to lose her life from cords in 2016, according to reported incidents. Other fatal strangulations may not been reported. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission documents about 11 fatal strangulation from window covering cords each year.

The second recent fatal strangulation involved a three year old boy who strangled to death on a window blind cord on October 26, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.

“Every death of a child is tragic and we extend our condolences and strength to these two families,” stated Kaiser. Linda Kaiser founded Parents for Window Blind Safety after her daughter, Cheyenne tragically died after being strangled by a hidden inner cord on a window covering. “We have been working to prevent other families from suffering the loss that we suffered, but we have a lot of work still to do.”

The bottom line - Any window covering with accessible outer cords longer than 8 inches can strangle a child. The most vulnerable children are infants through eight years of age. “Consumers should not be fooled into thinking that using “retrofit” devices or putting pull cords out of reach will prevent strangulation. Many children have strangled on cords that were retrofitted or placed out of reach,” Kaiser stated. Window covering cords that were cut short can still pose a danger when the blind is pulled open and the cords lengthen.

What should you do to keep children safe? Remove window coverings that have cords & replace them with affordable cordless blinds. No outer cords, tight inner cords. “Going cordless is the only way to assure the safety of children in the home. We urge window covering manufactures to issue a strong and effective voluntary standard that addresses the strangulation hazard posed by accessible cords,” concluded Linda Kaiser.

A broad array of affordable cordless product designs that eliminate the strangulation hazard are available. PFWBS urges consumers to look for window coverings that have the “PFWBS Seal of Approva l” which is given only after passing a strong cordless safety test.

Consumers should be aware of name brand blinds made by leading manufacturers that contain lethal accessible cords. Window coverings manufactured today are passed as safe by the ANSI safety standard, while still including unnecessary lethal cords.

For more information about this hazard and affordable cordless window coverings, go to
PFWBS has become the nation’s foremost advocacy group for protecting children from unsafe sleep environments and preventing injuries associated with hazardous window blind and window covering cords.

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