LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – "One time, one of them acted like he was putting a leash around the other one, and that's when I realized they could really be a harm to the kids," said Brenda Vallier.
She and her husband Brian knew their shades had to go when seven year old Rivers and six year old Canyon thought they could be used for fun.
Their decision was made long before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission made theirs, recalling nearly 50 million Roman shades and roll-up blinds, for strangulation risk.
"It doesn't come as a surprise because many children actually strangle," said Alisa Stevens, the Child Safety Coordinator of the Regional V. Public Health Office.
Since 2001, eight children have died from being strangled by window-covering cords, and 16 have had close calls, like the Vallier's two sons.
"Even when the blind was in the down position, I thought it was safe for them, but they would come in and grab the string and the blind itself, and pull it and put their head between the blind and itself [the cord]."
That's just one way a child can be strangled.
Stevens stated, "Sometimes they actually wrap it around their neck playing, not knowing this is a hazard."
And just as dangerous is a cord that forms a loop.
"What can happen is the child's neck can get caught up in the mini blinds and then it becomes a strangulation hazard," Stevens said.
Fixing the blinds may seem like a lot to some, but remember, it's just as easy for your child to strangle in these cords, as it is to fix the problem.
The Valliers removed their blinds, but if that isn't an option for you at this time, you can make them inaccessible until the can be fixed. One solution is to contact the Window Covering Safety Council for a free retrofit.
"Parents just don't realize that this is a hidden hazard. Kids will find anything to play with and make it a game," Stevens said.
"To have something as simple as a string wrapped around a window covering end your child's life...I can't fathom it... We'd be devastated," said Vallier.
You can also call the Window Covering Safety Council at 1(800) 506-4636.