PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — The young daughter of a former NFL running back died this week after she was found tangled in a mini-blind with cords wrapped around her neck.
Former Philadelphia Eagle Reno Mahe announced the 3-year-old’s death Tuesday on social media, saying “our Elsie girl has officially been released to heaven.”
The tragedy is a stark reminder to parents to be wary of the dangers of window blind cords.
On average, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says one child dies every month from window cord strangulation.
Safety expert Catherine Nwachukwu says these types of deaths are preventable.
“There shouldn’t be any furniture near windows,” she said. “Parents should teach their children not to play near windows.”
Nwachukwu said any home with young children should have cordless window coverings.
According to the CPSC, “most window blinds sold prior to November 2000 have inner cords (for raising the slats of the blinds) that can be pulled by a child and form a loop in which the child’s neck can entangle.”
If you can’t afford new, cordless window coverings, you can request a free repair kit from the Window Covering Safety Council by calling 800-506-4636 or visiting windowcoverings.org.
The CPSC says the retrofit kits will make your windows safer, but stressed they “do not address the dangling pull cord hazard associated with many common window blinds.”
Linda Kaiser understands the sorrow being felt by the Mahes, having lost her own daughter in a window cord accident.
“I had the pull cords tied up in my twins’ bedroom,” Kaiser recalled. “And I went in to check on them right before I went to bed, because I always did that because they were always so cute when they were sleeping, and I walked into a living nightmare.”
For years, Kaiser has been fighting for a safer standard for window coverings to save other families from the same nightmare.
“Consumers are trusting in safety devices that are failing,” she said.
Kaiser said she’s in meetings with manufacturers every month.
“They are considering doing some changes but it’s not enough, in my opinion, to really make a significant change,” she added. “We’re just asking for them to design products that cannot wrap around the necks of children.”