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Blumenthal Provision to Protect Military Children from Window Cord Coverings Proceeds to the Senate Floor

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, highlighted new protections from the hidden danger of window covering cords for children living in military housing included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 currently under consideration by the full Senate. The provision – which Blumenthal included in the bill passed out of the Senate Armed Services Committee – directs the Secretary of Defense to remove and replace window coverings with accessible cords from military housing units in which children under the age of nine reside.

“Nearly every month for the past two decades, a child has died from strangulation by an accessible window-covering cord,” Blumenthal said. “Sadly, military families are especially vulnerable to the hazard of window-covering cords: the challenges of long deployments, frequent relocations, and temporary housing puts military parents who hope to protect their children from this hidden danger at a unique disadvantage. This provision will eliminate the risk of an easily preventable tragedy in military homes.”

“We applaud the inclusion of this life saving provision in the NDAA and Senator Blumenthal’s leadership in protecting children from hazards posed by corded window covering,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel for Consumer Federation of America. “America’s military children will be protected from the strangulation hazard posed by cords in window coverings as a result of this provision. A child is killed almost every month and others are seriously injured by this pervasive and preventable hazard. This provision will save lives.”

“Soldiers shouldn't have to deal with their first graders dying on corded window covering products with safety devices. Retrofits continue to fail consumers,” said Parents for Window Blind Safety founder Linda Kaiser. “It’s time to remove accessible cords from all military housing.” 

In April, Blumenthal wrote the Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, urging them to take action to protect children from dangerous window covering cords. As Blumenthal wrote in his letter, military families and families seeking federal housing assistance may be particularly vulnerable to this hazard. In March, a 7-year-old was found dead tangled in window-blind cords in his family’s military housing at Fort Detrick.

“Servicemembers sign up to serve their country knowing they may be put in harm’s way, but they do not expect this to also apply to their children, and certainly not in their own home,” Blumenthal wrote in his letter to the Secretary of Defense. “I trust you agree that the DoD has a duty to do as much as it can to make the homes for military families as safe as possible.”

Enclosed in the letter to the Department of Defense is information Blumenthal’s office previously requested from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Parents for Window Blind Safety on window covering injuries and deaths related to military housing.