Window blinds safety standard in place after strangulation deaths

Published: Apr. 26, 2018 at 5:08 PM CDT
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Action 2 News is learning more about a new safety standard in the window blind industry, after the tragic death of a Sheboygan child Tuesday.

The Sheboygan Police Department says the one-year-old boy died of strangulation after climbing out of a portable crib and getting tangled up in in the cords of a window blind. He was under the care of a person who watched him regularly. The death was ruled accidental, and no charges are being referred.

Window blinds are not a new problem. The Center for Childhood Safety says one child dies every month after being strangled from a window cord. Some parents who took precautions with the long cord still lose their children to window blinds.

"Fifteen years ago I walked into my twins’ bedroom and I found my daughter hanging from the inner cord of the window blind—which is the cord that runs in between the slats of the blind. The pull cords were tied up out of my twins reach. I didn't understand that the cord in between the slats could be pulled out. She got a hold of that. She strangled and passed away on that,” Linda Kaiser, who founded Parents for Window Blind Safety, told Action 2 News Thursday.

Kaiser is winning the fight for stricter safety standards in the window blind industry.

Cordless blinds will become the new norm. The Window Covering Safety Council says a voluntary standard is in effect for window blinds to be cordless. The WCSC says it will ensure most window blinds sold in the United States and Canada will be cordless or have short cords.

Window blinds with cords have long dominated the industry and used to cost a lot less than cordless ones, but that's all changing.

“When I first started, cordless was really new and they didn't work real well and it was expensive to add on. And now the cost has come way down, it really works well, they've perfected it,” said Kurt Deneys of Budget Blinds on Velp Avenue in Green Bay.

If you already have cords on your blinds, install what's called a cord cleat to wrap it up.

“The cord cleat— when the blind is up and the cord is hanging— they have it wrapped so that there is no availability for a child's neck or an animal to be tangled in those cords, explained Michele Deneys, also an owner of Budget Blinds.

"All it takes is walking out of the room unfortunately for a second for those things to happen so as much as you can keep an eye on them that's great, but safety proof the rest,” said Willow Stewart of the Center for Childhood Safety.

*This story has been updated to show that no law is changing regarding window blinds. Instead, a new safety standard is in place.