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The potential killers still hang on the wall of my son's bedroom. Like many moms, I’d heard that window blinds pose a strangulation risk to young children, but with a limited budget, I couldn't afford to replace them. Instead, I simply tossed the blind cords on top of the valance and parked the crib away from the window. I figured my kids were safe -- or safe enough.
Now, I'm thanking my lucky stars that I avoided a tragedy, because according to a recent New York Times article, countless children have strangled under similar conditions. Despite years of warnings and half-hearted attempts by manufacturers to create a safer product, each year innocent children die wrapped in blind cords. My four children survived my haphazard approach to babyproofing the blinds (my "baby" is five, and my 10-year-old son now occupies the room in question), but others aren’t as fortunate. In fact, the Times story reports that an average of one child a month strangles on window blind cords -- a heartbreaking statistic.
Enough is enough. Distressed parents and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are now considering mandatory regulations to force manufacturers to produce and sell a safe product. (The hitch: safer, cordless blinds cost more.) But Parents for Window Blind Safety, an advocacy group founded by a couple after the death of their daughter, knows that parents can’t wait. Their website includes videos that graphically illustrate the risk posed by various window coverings, as well as a link to “safe solutions” -- products that have met their vigorous safety standards.
Moms, don’t take the chance I did. Educate yourselves about the risk and take steps to protect your kids. Retrofit your blinds or go cordless. Now.