Researchers call for immediate ban on window blinds with cords

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NEW YORK (CBS) A new study has researchers calling for a mandatory safety standard to eliminate window blinds with cords. The study finds blinds with cords continue to pose a serious strangulation risk.

Like her namesake, 4-year-old Presley Marie Eastburn loved to sing. "I miss her holding my face and looking into my eyes and telling me, you know, how much she loved me," said her mother, Carol C.

A year ago, Presley was in the family room watching TV alone for about ten minutes, when her parents say she made her way to the window and became entangled in the cord attached to the blinds. "It was like all the life had been sucked out of her," Eastburn said.

Presley had been strangled. She died five days later. Now doctors in the journal Pediatrics are calling for immediate action, saying in a report that window blinds were involved in more than 16,000 and 271 deaths among children over a 25-year period.

Dr. Gary Smith with Nationwide Children's Hospital co-authored the study. "It's just completely unacceptable that we continue to see children die from this cause when we've known about this problem for over 70 years," he said.

Video from an advocacy group shows how easily they can become entangled. Manufacturers say they're addressing the problem. In a statement, their trade group says a voluntary process with the Consumer Product Safety Commission will result next year in "the most significant change to the window covering safety standard ever," with a requirement that all blinds sold in retail stores or online be cordless or have inaccessible cords -- a change they say should cover more than 80-percent of products sold.

Last year alone, children who died included a two-year-old from Florida, a three year-old from Ohio, a three-year-old from Texas, and Presley, the little girl who used to sing along with mom to a favorite story. "And she would sing it, 'As long as I'm living, my mommy you'll be,'" Eastburn said.

The Eastburns say the blinds they were sold had child-safety features they claim did not work properly. They are suing both the manufacturer and retailer of their blinds. The retailer's attorney told CBS they did not install the blinds, and the manufacturer did not respond to a request for comment.