The 1 Thing That's Still Killing Children — Even Though Parents Have Known About It For Years
Just because cordless blinds are available doesn't mean that children aren't still getting tangled up in the millions of blind cords hanging in homes across the country.
When Nicky and Nate Walla shared an old but horrifying video of their son being silently strangled, it wasn't out of a moment of reflection on how far America has come in preventing this simple yet severe danger. It was because in the 10 years since the Walla family almost lost their son, little change has been made.
According to the nonprofit group Parents for Window Blind Safety, not only have hundreds of children been caught in blind cords over the last 30 years, but more than 300 were also killed and another 300 were seriously injured.
SelectBlinds.com, Target, and Ikea now only sell cordless products, and Lowe's, Home Depot, and Walmart have said they are going to have their entire inventory changed by 2018. However, that's not enough for all of the homes that already have these dangerous blinds installed. And although many parents think that they don't need to worry because they baby proofed or never leave the room, it's important to know that these silent deaths can happen incredibly fast — many times when the parent is even in the same room.
Whether the parent is on his or her phone, cleaning, or just has their back turned, blind cords are incredibly powerful when wrapped around small necks, and while some kids are found on the floor, others are discovered soundlessly hanging. Erica Barnes Thomas told the Washington Post that not only did she research Roman shades with cords tucked behind the shades, but she also had them installed so that the tucked-away cord was on the farther side from her toddler's bed along with child releases. But when she went to check on her son, Cormac, when she thought he was sleeping in, Erica found her child beneath the window and cold.
Since her little boy's 2014 death, Erica has fought to make window blinds safer and to bring awareness to the fact that the issue goes beyond leaving children unsupervised while sleeping or living in "cheap apartments with cheap blinds." While the industry has been slow to embrace change, standards have improved to ensure that no cord is longer than 7.25 inches, which is too short to strangle a child. Elliot Kaye, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, also said that cordless blinds can sometimes be only $5 more expensive per unit.
For any parent who has lost a child to this silent killer, it's time to take action before another little one adds to the startling statistics.