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Window Treatment Cords and Strangulation Risk: Keeping Kids Safe

Each year, children are seriously injured or killed due to the cords used with window treatments. The cords used with shades, blinds, and other window treatments can easily become wrapped around a child’s neck, cutting off air and posing a strangulation risk. Even ties used with curtains and draperies can pose a significant risk.

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Tying up existing cords may not be enough

Some parents try to simply tie up the cords and strings used with shades, blinds, and other window treatments. However, this may not be enough. Strings and cords may become untied and may fall, so simply looping out of the way may not be enough. Children may also become innovative when grabbing cords out of reach. A better option to keep your children safe is to:

1) Rely on cordless shades and blinds. These use motors and remote controls to open and close the shades. Since there are no cords involved, the risk of strangulation is much lower. Cordless, motorized shades and blinds are also more convenient, since you can open and close window treatments even from a different room.

2) Remove cords or shorten them significantly. There are cord shortening kits you can use. You can also simply cut them to a few inches to reduce the risk of strangulation.

3) Keep furniture away from windows. It is much harder for children to climb up to a window and grab hold of a cord if there are no furnishings under the window. This can also help reduce falls from windows and can prevent a child from pressing on the window or screen.

4) Provide supervision for children. Whether you have children or children are visiting you, ensure there are always at least two adults keeping an eye on children. This will ensure children can’t get onto a window or get into other risky situations.

5) Ensure window treatments are installed correctly. Poorly installed window treatments pose an additional risk. When the curtain rods and support systems are installed incorrectly, they can collapse under a child’s weight, causing serious injury. Incorrectly installed shades, blinds, shutters, draperies, and other window treatments can also pose additional strangulation risk by allowing cords or other elements to drag on the floor, where they are more easily accessible to children.

Even if you don’t have small children, children may visit you, especially at this time of year. If you have any small children visiting your home, strangulation risk from window treatments is a very real concern. As a homeowner, you have an obligation to keep visitors to your home reasonably safe. Premises liability claims easily occur if a homeowner shirks their duty in providing a reasonably safe environment for lawful visitors. Always carefully check your window treatments if there will be children in your home.

If your child has been injured by a defective window treatment or during a visit to someone’s home in Hollywood or Southern Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our team would be happy to sit down with you and to review your situation to help you understand whether you have a legal claim and how much that claim may be worth. Through our offices in Homestead, Hollywood, and Miami, we’re proud to serve the entire southern Florida area.