Earlier this week, we participated in a #CordSafety Twitter chat. These chats are useful to spread safety advice. Chats also give everyone insight into what parents are doing in their homes. Here’s an important question that was posed in the chat:
The number of people who said they tie up the cords and place them up high surprised us. Here’s a sample of the responses:
- When my kids were smaller, we tied up the cords to top of the blinds. Revisited often.
- I tie them up and keep them out reach. From window cords to appliance cords.
- Answer – rooms with blinds have the cords tied up at the top of the window.
- I tie them in a loose bow, well out of reach. Keep furniture away, that they could stand on, teach safety
Tie ‘em up is risky. It gives parents a false sense of security. Cords can, and do, get tangled. Sometimes, this happens after parents tie the cords up to childproof the cords.
One child strangles in window cords nearly every month. Kids can easily wrap dangling or accessible cords around their necks and get tangled. Even cords tied up and high can be accessible to young children. There have been incidents of well-intentioned, tied up cords that have ended tragically.
Take a look at our blog on Kids and Cords from 2010. In there, we tell you about parents who regularly tried to tie hanging window covering cords up so that they did not hang down. Dad left his 22-month-old son for about 10 minutes, only to find him strangled in tangled cords.
This incident is not the only tragic tale of the “tie them up” approach. That’s why we recommend the following options for families with young children:
- Cordless: Self explanatory. This is the safest option.
- Shades with inaccessible cords: You shouldn’t be able to grab onto a cord in any way.
The top two are the best options. If new window coverings truly aren’t an option in your budget install a retrofit kit. These kits are a short-term fix, especially for mini-blinds made before 2000. Just remember that these kits do not address all the hazards posed by cords.
Exposed cords must be inaccessible to children. Tying them up and/or knotting them up can be dangerous. Look for products that are specifically designed to keep the cords out of sight and reach. If you don’t go cordless now, make the cords in your home inaccessible.
For more information on window covering cord safety, please visit CPSC’s Window Covering Cords Information Center.