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PFWBS has an extensive database of all reports injuries and deaths to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission dating back to 1972. The information on this page is for reporters, government officials, attorneys and anyone else interested in window covering safety. We will add to this page so please keep it bookmarked for updates.
FAQ submitted to PFWBS
How many reported cases of strangulation have occurred in the USA?
- 563 cases since 1986. 49% of window covering strangulations go unreported according to USCPSC.
Which product has killed or injured the most children?
- Horizontal Window Blinds
Estimates of Window Covering Cord-Related Strangulation Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments – Source: CPSC In-Depth Investigation File (INDP)
According to the emergency department-treated injury data (NEISS), CPSC staff estimates that from 1996 to 2012, children received treatment for 1,590 injuries (sample size = 63, cv=0.24) resulting from entanglements on window covering cords. The injury estimates for individual years are based on very small samples and are not reportable. Moreover, due to the unreliability of the yearly estimates, a trend analysis is not feasible. The ages of the injured ranged from 14 months to eight years. It is worth noting here that the upper limit for the age selection criterion was set at eight years whenever feasible because of multiple incident reports received by CPSC staff that involved children up to that age.
Based on the injuries reported to NEISS hospitals, the notable characteristics were as follows:
Severity of the injuries –
- Among the patients who were DOA (dead on arrival) or died in the emergency department, 65% were 5-year-olds and 35% were 3-year-olds.
- The hospitalizations occurred among 1-year-olds (59%), 4-year-olds (38%), and 3-year-olds (3%), and
- The older age groups, 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds, suffered less severe outcomes.
Common Ways of Entanglement – Source: CPSC In-Depth Investigation File (INDP)
A closer look at pull cord-related incidents revealed several ways in which children have strangled or nearly-strangled. The common modes of entanglement are:
- Loops created by knotted or tangled cord: Staff’s review revealed that prior to the incidents, the pull cords had been tied together or had been coiled and tucked away (out of children’s reach), but had later become accessible. When pull cords were tied together, a loop was created above the knot where the cords were tied and that is where the child later became entangled. When the cords were coiled, the cords also became tangled and created a loop, which later acted as a noose.
- One or more long cords which the child wrapped around the neck: In these scenarios, the child had wrapped the long pull cord(s) multiple times around the neck. When the child fell or tried to pull away from the window covering, the cord pulled back, causing the child to strangle or nearly-strangle.
- Loop above a single tassel of the cord: Some pull cords consist of multiple cords that hang from the window covering’s head rail and are joined at a point, by a plastic or wooden tassel. In such configurations, a loop exists above the tassel. In the cases reviewed, staff determined that these loops were within the child’s access and led to fatal or nonfatal strangulations.
- Loop above the stop ball of the cord: Some pull cords consist of multiple cords that hang from the window covering’s head rail and are joined at a point, by a stop ball. The pull cord then continues down as a single cord. Similar to the single tassel case, a loop exists above the stop ball. In some of the staff-reviewed investigations, this loop acted as a noose where a child was caught.
- Loop created when pull-cord was tied to another object, usually on the wall: In 2 (2 percent)of the pull cord-related incidents, 1 (1 percent) of the fatalities, and 1 (3 percent) of the injuries associated with pull cords, staff found that the pull cord was tied to another object (e.g., a curtain rod). Tying the pull cord to another object created a “U” shaped opening where a child later strangled or nearly-strangled.
- Unknown manner: Eighteen (18 percent) of the pull cord-related incidents did not report sufficient information to allow CPSC staff to determine the manner in which the child was entangled. Twelve (18 percent) of the fatalities and 6 (18 percent) of the injuries involving a pull cord were included in this category.
What does it mean when window covering boxes say “child safe” on them?
- This means the product complies with the WCMA/ANSI standard.
If a product complies with the WCMA/ANSI safety standard does that mean its
- NO! This safety standard is developed and written by the manufactures. Long operational or pull cords, accessible inner cords and faulty tension devices all comply with the most current 2012 WCMA/ANSI safety standard.
How safe are the safety kits passed out by the Window Covering Safety Council?
- A Safety kit consists of retrofits for several design types on the market. Some of the retrofits correct the hazard, others do not. For instance, 2 tassels are in the kit to separate the continuous loop on old window coverings, however it does not correct the hazard as long cords with tassels tangle together reforming the loop in the pull cord. One cord can also be wrapped around the neck of a child. Click here to see how fast tassels can tangle together.
How can I tell if a window covering is safe for children?
- If the window covering has no accessible cords, front and back, it is safe. Please see our safe products page for products that have been tested for safety.
Strangulations in Daycares
CPSC Publications and Articles
CPSC Window Covering Information Center
Deaths and Injuries are under reported
Are your Window Coverings safe?
Roman Shade Recall
Top 5 Hidden Hazards in the home
CPSC Calls for ELIMINATION of strangulation hazards
Trilateral Letter to the WCMAJuly 2014 Letter CPSC Position on Cord Cleats. CPSC States Using Cleats Are Not Effective.
International Product Alignment Initiative Document