No. 567



You may find what I want to share with you in this column about as exciting as watching paint dry, or you may learn or be reminded of something that could save the life of one of your children or grandchildren.
The other day I got a letter from Peter Rush, executive director of the Window Covering Safety Council in New York City, and he asked me to share some information about window cord safety. I will confess, before I received his letter, I had never thought about window cord safety, but when I learned that since 1991 more than 175 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling on window cords, it got my attention.
As a quick aside, windows have been around almost since the beginning of recorded history. In the Bible there is an account in Genesis 26 where Isaac, son of Abraham, had lied to the Philistine, King Abimelech, when he told him that his wife, Rebekah, was his sister. Like father, like son. She was very beautiful and he thought the King would kill him for her. However, the jig was up when King Abimelech looked out a "window" and saw him caressing her. The King knew then that she was Isaac's wife. The key word in this true story for my purpose, being window.
Rather than just having solid walls, windows serve a number of useful purposes.
They allow the sunlight to come in and they allow living creatures to see out. They also allow those on the outside to see in, and this fact has given rise to a whole new industry, the window covering industry. The amount of money some people spend on window treatment is astronomical and runs the gambit from simple shades to Venetian blinds, drapes, head coverings and many other arrangements. Up until the year 2001, when manufacturers got the message and began to build in safety features for window shades, blinds and other coverings with long cords were just an accident waiting to happen.
While I did not think about it at the time, my wife recently purchased a small Venetian blind for a window in our bedroom, and it carried instructions to cut the cord, loop it at the top and install those little plastic caps that would prevent a baby or young child from wrapping it around his neck. If you live in a brand new home, the chances are good that you would not have to worry about this, but in older homes where the window coverings have been there for several years, this could be a problem.
Today, the Window Covering Safety Council will even provide free retrofit kits and information to help change from the old style to the new designs that are much safer.
If what I am saying saves the life of just one precious child, it would be worth it. Don't you agree?
Here are some tips contained in their brochure: First, do a survey and check all windowed areas of the home for potential window-cord hazards by following these rules. 1. Move cribs, beds and other furniture away from windows, preferably to another wall. 2. Keep all window pull cords and inner lift cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled pull cords are short, that continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the floor or wall and that cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement of inner lift cords. 3. Lock cords into position when lowering horizontal blinds or shades, including when they come to rest on a windowsill. 4. Consider using cordless window coverings in children's bedrooms and play areas. A wide variety of cordless products are now available. 5. As mentioned before, retrofit window blinds, corded shades and draperies manufactured before 2001 with retrofit cord repair devices, or replace them with today's safer products.
If you would like free retrofit kits and other information, please contact the Window Covering Safety Council, 355 Lexington Ave., Suite 1700, New York, N.Y. 10017, phone 1-800-506-4636 or visit their Web site
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")