Federal Task Force Seeks Solution to Infant Cord Strangulations
On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Defective Products on Monday, April 25, 2011
Safety experts have known for decades that the drawstring on window blinds can be dangerous to young children. The children are drawn to the hanging cord and like to play with it. Tragically, many children wrap the cord around their necks and accidently kill themselves. This terrible event is not rare in the U.S.; it occurs once a month, on average.
The window blind industry has responded to the children’s’ deaths with a series of modifications to its designs, such as tie-down devices. However, many advocates have accused the industry of being too slow to act on recommendations that would greatly reduce the number of deaths, including cordless blinds.
According to the New York Times, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has created a task force made up of advocates and regulators are working with industry officials. The two sides hope to have an agreement by this fall, though the manufacturers argue that they should not have to sacrifice their bottom line to what they see as an impossible task: eliminating the risk of children choking on their products’ cords. One St. Louis attorney who has represented several parents of children injured or killed said executives have told him adding just one or two dollars to their prices, the cost of making cordless blinds, would hurt their business.
The task force was the work of a suburban St. Louis mother. She became an advocate for safer blinds after one of her 1-year-old twins choked to death one night in 2002. She had followed all the safety precautions, she said, putting the pull cord out of reach, only to have her daughter strangle on an inner cord. She said the task force was the best shot safety advocates have had in bringing down the rate of injury and death.
Source: The New York Times, “Concern Grows Over Window Blind Safety,” Andrew Martin, April 20, 2011