Advocates warn of window blind cord danger

Advocates say 11 kids across the country have been accidentally strangled by the cords on wind blinds, two of them in Texas.

It’s a tragedy that is happening way too often and a danger inside the home of anyone with children or those who might be visiting over the holidays.

Advocates said 11 kids across the U.S. have been accidentally strangled by the cords on window blinds in 2016, two of them were in Texas in just the last week.

One of them was a 4-year-old girl from League City, who one advocate said was killed by professionally installed blinds with a safety device that wasn't properly installed.

"This was their princess and their little girl, and they are absolutely devastated,” said Linda Kaiser, the founder of Parents for Window Blind Safety, an advocacy group that helps families whose kids have been injured or killed by the cords on window blinds.

"I know the devastation of what it feels like to lose a child this way,” said Kaiser, who is helping the League City family.

Kaiser said in 2002 her young daughter died in the same way.

It’s the same way authorities in North Texas said 3-year-old Heath Lawson Bullard, Jr. lost his life inside his family's home in Cleburne, about 30 miles south of Fort Worth, on Saturday night.

"I could not imagine how they feel, I really couldn't,” said Lt. Tim Jones, of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, whose deputies responded to the home.

"It's like having a gun in your child's bedroom,” said Kaiser, describing the strangulation danger the cords present.

Kaiser said that's because toddlers and young kids are tall enough to reach the cord, naturally want to play with it, but don't understand how quickly and easily it can hurt them.

"But for those parents who say, ‘Well, I'm just gonna tie up my pull cords,’ well, my daughter's pull cords were tied up and she died, and I'm not the only one that's happened to," said Kaiser. 

Far from it: Kaiser said 40 kids in Texas have died from these cords since 1980. Nationwide, 165 have died and 143 have been injured since 2002, the year she lost her daughter.

Since then, the St. Louis resident has founded her own advocacy group, making safety videos and urging an unregulated industry to stop putting cords in. In the meantime, she’s urging parents to do the same, adding that cordless covers can currently be bought for as low as $10 per window.

Kaiser said the industry has committed to taking out cords from stock products, but she also wants to see them gone from custom blinds like the ones that killed the League City girl.

That girl's family didn't want to talk on camera, but did give Kaiser their blessing to share their daughter's story to save another family from going through this.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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