Thursday was just another day of my busy week. I was scrambling to find something to cook for supper, when I left my 3 children in the living room to get my favorite cookbook. Somewhere along the way, I became distracted. My 4-year-old son came up beside me and calmly explained, “Mom, Baby Moses needs help.” Guessing that he had pushed his bottle under the couch or was trying unsuccessfully to get a large toy out of the toy box, I casually made my way back into the living room. I wasn’t prepared for what had happened.

My 11-month-old son, Moses, was standing up against the back of the sofa. His face was reddish-purple, and he was sputtering. His tiny arms and legs flailed as he struggled to breathe. The cord from my mini-blinds was wrapped around his neck several times. I sprang into action, weeping as I pulled him against me and began untangling him from the cord. He started to breathe and then cry. I couldn’t hold him close enough to my chest.

I wasn’t even sure how it had happened. I had heard about children dying from becoming entangled in their window blind cords, but I had assumed that it only happened on older models or those that didn’t have optional safety precautions installed. After talking to my nurse and being reassured that my son would be alright, I proceeded to do some research on window blind safety. My findings were shocking.

According to Parents for Window Blind Safety, an estimated 768 children have died due to this type of incident from 1981-2004. The average age of the children is 4 years old! What surprised me even more was the fact that there are 8 ways for a child to become entangled in a window blind, and most of the safety accessories included in the newer window blinds won’t prevent half of them!

A study from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found, that on average, 26% of child day care settings (all types) had loops on window blind cords accessible to children. “A review of state licensing requirements indicated that the blind cords were not adequately addressed, and most well-intentioned child care providers and parents are not aware that many of the hazards exist.” The CPSC’s recommendations included a checklist for providers and parents to follow, but the checklist is not a required tool, and legislation or licensing requirements were not addressed as a result of the study.

What does this mean for parents?

Never assume that the included hardware in new blinds will be adequate. It is not uncommon to find recalled blinds in stores. Mini-blinds are not the only unsafe window treatments. Anything with a cord, including roman shades, bamboo blinds, and magic blinds, can pose a danger to children.

It may be a good time to look at safer alternatives, and alert family, friends, and babysitters about the dangers of blind cords. Since many well-meaning relatives will be diligent about keeping poison up high or covering outlets, they should also be responsive to your concerns for blind safety.

It has been one day since my little guy almost lost his life. His little eyes are no longer bloodshot, but the cord burns are still visible, and he has broken capillaries all over his face and neck. While he probably won't remember this event when he grows older, it is something I will never, ever forget. My heart goes out to those that have lost children in this way, and I feel like we really could do more. To get involved, help spread the word, or just to learn more, visit http://www.windowblindskillchildren.org.