Consumers rely and trust that the household goods they buy are safe for their everyday use and do not pose unexpected dangers or risks. Where a manufacturer or store fails to provide goods that are safe for their normal use, and the product causes someone to be injured, the manufacturer or store may be held liable in a product liability lawsuit. It is the legal duty of consumer goods industries to inspect all products for dangers, warn consumers about proper use or known risks, and remove all known dangerous goods from the stream of commerce.
According to Desert News, eight years ago, a young child was strangled by the cords on window blinds. Now the child’s family is speaking out to warn other families of the dangers associated with cordless blinds. Between 1999 and 2001, 140 children died, and 136 children were injured and were near death due to corded window coverings, according to statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This means that on average one child a month died from the cords on window treatments. This victim’s parents are now urging lawmakers for stricter regulations on window blind cords, such as making all cord free.
It is important to note that all blinds sold prior to the year 2000 have cords that can be pulled on by children and form a loop in which a child can become tangled. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends repairing this blinds and obtaining a free repair kit. To do so, you can call the Window Safety Covering Council at 800-506-4636 or by visiting windowcoverings.org.
The same article states that as temperatures rise, many people will be opening and closing their blinds. When blinds are open, this causes the cord to elongate and becomes more of a hazard for potential strangling. If possible, parents and guardians with small children should use cordless window coverings. Additionally, there are other safety measures that can be taken to make loose cords inaccessible to children. For instance, move cribs, furniture, toys, etc. away from the windows. Furthermore, it is possible to install tension devices in some blinds or shades to keep the cord held tight.
Most people do not normally see window coverings as a danger to children until learning of incidents like this. Parents and caretakers are used to open and obvious hazards, such as sharp objects or electrical outlets or appliances, and know to take preventative measures to keep children from these dangers. However, products such as window coverings are not dangerous by their very nature and therefore are not a source of alarm. It is for that reason that manufacturers and companies need to take measures to educate consumers and ensure that non-dangerous objects like blinds do not cause others to be injured. Our attorneys care about the health and well-being of children, and we urge companies to make safer products, and for parents and caretakers to do all in their power to protect their children from both obvious and non-obvious dangers.