A Utah mother has taken to Facebook to warn parents about a dangerous household hazard after her three-year-old nearly strangled himself with the blind cord in his bedroom.
Arika Hernandez of West Jordan, Utah, says her son climbed to the top bunkbed in his room and wrapped the blind cord from the window treatments around his neck to “make a necklace.”
As he climbed down the ladder of the bunkbed, the cord tightened causing him to panic.
“Our sweet 3 year old boy is a survivor,” Hernandez wrote. “He scratched at the cords to loosen them but all he could grab was skin.”
In an attempt to free himself, he jumped from the ladder, causing the cord to break.
“The cord snapped and freed him! We heard a loud thud (his jump) and then his loud scream!” This was not just any scream it is one I have never heard in my life and it will forever be ringing in my ears,” she said.
Hernandez and her husband rushed their son to the hospital, where doctors said they were surprised. The cords aren’t meant to break.
“We are counting our blessings!” she continued. “God has big plans for our little boy, and it was not his time to go. Please please please take my message and take action now!”
Hernandez’s post was shared more than 53,000 times, with many people recounting similar stories that unfortunately ended in tragedy.
The overwhelming response prompted Hernandez to revise her post.
“NO CORDED BLINDS ARE SAFE!” she wrote. “They now sell cordless blinds and they are worth every penny. Even if you cut the cords once the blinds are lifted up it creates a hazard… There are still inner cords and if the cord is pulled so the blinds go all the way up, that pull cord will then be long enough to make a loop and strangle a child.”
Blind cords are one of the leading causes of injury in the home. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least once a month a child dies from window cord strangulation.
In an interview with CNN after the 2016 death of three-year-old Elsie Mahe, the CSPC’s public relations officer said strangulation can occur within a matter of seconds.
“Unconsciousness can happen within 15 seconds and death within two to three minutes,” Dulic revealed. “CPSC is aware of incidents that have occurred while others, including parents were in the same room.”
In a staff report on the dangers of window cords, the CPSC details that children will go to great lengths to play with window coverings by climbing on furniture such as beds and chairs. There have also been cases where children were strangled while trying to imitate their favourite superhero, or as in the case with Hernandez’s son, fashion themselves a necklace.
As of Dec. 15, 2018 a new safety regulation was enforced by the CPSC, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA), and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) stating that a “vast majority” of all window covering products in the United States be cordless or made with inaccessible or short cords.
With the new regulation, the WCMA estimates that approximately 90 per cent of all window dressings sold will be cordless or have inaccessible cords.
In 2017, Health Canada issued a proposal to change the Corded Window Coverings Regulations to restrict the length of reachable cords and the size of window dressing loops, with warnings of risks to consumers.
In a recent press release, WCMA executive director Ralph Vasami pushed for the Canadian government to forego development on its new window covering safety regulations and harmonize with the WCMA’s new standards.
The CPSC encourages parents to invest in cordless window coverings whenever possible to minimize the risk of injury, and provide resources on their website so families can obtain a free window coverings repair kit to make their blinds safer.
For more information visit the Window Covering Safety Council website.