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Deadly Cords: Feds Move to Protect Kids From Window Blinds - WRCB-TV

NBC News - They don't look dangerous – not like a knife or open flame – but the cords on window blinds and shades can be just as deadly when they get wrapped around a child's neck.

Almost every month, on average, another child dies from window cord strangulation, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These cords are on the commission's list of the top five “hidden hazards” in the home.

The industry for years has said that voluntary manufacturing standards and its own educational programs were enough to reduce the death toll.

But the government now thinks that may not be enough. The CPSC voted unanimously on Wednesday to start the rulemaking process that could eventually lead to mandatory safety standards for all new window coverings.

“Keeping children from being strangled to death is first and foremost for me when it comes to window covering cords,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye in a statement. “No matter the final approach – whether it is a comprehensive federal standard or a vastly improved voluntary standard – I feel the urgency to having this hazard addressed, so families with young children and businesses can have confidence in the safety of these products.”

The commission's action was in response to a petition filed in May 2013 by seven consumer groups, including Parents for Window Blind Safety. Linda and Matt Kaiser of St. Louis, Missouri, started the non-profit after their one-year-old daughter Cheyenne Rose was strangled to death by a window blind cord in her room.

“We've been fighting for 12 years to get the industry to take the outer cords off of all window coverings,” Linda Kaiser said. “There's really no excuse. The technology is there. You see cordless window coverings in every store. The industry just doesn't want to make the change because they're not being forced to do it and I think the government has finally seen that.”

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