Forensic Engineering Investigation of Incidents Involving Corded Window Coverings

Richard M. Ziernicki, Ph.D., P.E. (NAFE 308F)Ben T. Railsback, P.E. (NAFE 713S)


It has been recognized for many years that young children have been involved in incidents, including strangulation, with the cords associated with window covering products such as window blinds or shades. 1, 2 The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has identified window coverings with cords as one of the top five hidden hazards in the home. According to CPSC a child dies about once a month and another child suffers a near strangulation.3 The CPSC currently recommends the use of cordless products wherever children live or visit.

This paper will identify the hazards, or design features which create loops, associated with corded window covering products based on incident reports and design analysis. The paper will further identify the risk, or the probability and severity, associated with the hazard modes. Additionally the paper will address historical and current engineering design efforts to reduce the injury potential for corded window coverings.

Published By


Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers
June 2013