When homeowners think about safe windows they do not necessarily see anything dangerous. However windows treatments purchased for privacy or to control the light can be especially hazardous for smaller children and pets while posing a deadly risk. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that 17,000 children have been sent to emergency rooms for strangulation in the past 26 years and 271 have passed away. Long and loose cords for blinds and shades are dangerous.
To combat this problem the WCMA (Window Covering Manufacturers Association) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) recently approved new standards which will require stock products sold in the retail market to be produced with inaccessible short cords or cordless options when possible. Custom and made to order products are not obligated to follow these guidelines but strings and cords should be permanently attached to the wall with a safety device.
Cords are one of the top five most dangerous products in your home for small children. Consider replacing shades and blinds with cordless or shorter corded window treatments. Knotting or tying existing long cords is not necessarily an answer because a new loop is created that can still strangle a child.
Longer corded items are available for short stature adults, people with disabilities and older adults. Manufactures are also placing warning tags with easy to understand graphics on new items to educate the public.