Ikea will stop selling window blinds with cords effective today in the United States with global implementation planned for January 1, 2016. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 1996 and 2012, an average of one child per month died as a result of strangulation by window blind cords. Statistics have proven that these blinds are dangerous to children, so it’s about time large retailers stopped selling them to consumers.
Ikea is not the only big company to make the decision to phase out this hazardous product. Target announced last year they would stop selling them and now, only cordless blinds can be found in their stores. Elliot Kaye, Chairman of the CPSC, told ABC News this was a “bold step” saying, “The window covering industry has steadfastly denied that this was possible and they are being proven wrong. I want to see more forward-looking, responsible manufacturers and retailers of window coverings do what IKEA and Target have done. Only then will the heartbreaking pattern of a child being strangled nearly once a month finally come to an end. It cannot happen fast enough as far as I am concerned.”
The statistic is grim and sadly, not an exaggeration. That means a total of 285 children experiencing fatal or serious injury over the course of just 16 years. Compare this to the 27 deaths between 1985 and 2005 attributed to crib bumpers and it’s hard to understand why we don’t hear more about the dangers of this common household item. Parents have been warned for years that crib bumpers could cause their baby to smother to death but I can’t recall a single instance where any blog post or magazine article cautioned me against blind cords.
Part of the reason retailers may be reluctant to make this change could be the cost involved with cordless blinds and consumer push-back. According to the CPSC, the corded versions are much less expensive, and naturally, households without children wouldn’t need to consider the safety hazard the cords can pose. There are some who will say this drastic of a change in product offerings isn’t necessary and that parents simply need to be responsible for watching their children to avoid injury. Any parent knows that it’s impossible to watch a child every waking moment and to that end, we childproof our homes to keep kids safe. As these statistics prove, corded blinds are a danger to young children and to that end, they shouldn’t be sold any longer. 285 children have died or been seriously hurt and that’s 285 too many. If it can be prevented, it’s an obvious choice to stop them from being sold.
Hopefully, Target and Ikea making this change will result in other retailers following suit so more senseless tragedies can be avoided. For more information on the dangers of corded blinds and other household hazards, check out the CPSC’s website.