Grieving family warns about dangers of window blinds

(WXYZ) - Some startling statistics show that the cords on window blinds claim the life of one child every two weeks in this country.

It's become a reality for one Commerce Township family and since their tragedy they're fighting to make sure families across the state know the dangers.

It is one of the most dangerous devices to children in your home and it has gone virtually unrecognized by parents for decades because how would you really know to beware.

They have been in homes for 100 years.

In an exclusive interview a grieving family tells us the message they hope legislators listen to.

We have to warn you some of the video provided by the Parents for Window Blind Safety organization is disturbing.

It shows a happy mother in the same room with her children, a video capturing happy moments until she turns to reveal tragedy going on behind her - her 3-year-old son silently being strangled by a blinds cord.

After 30 seconds and CPR he is revived. But some are not as fortunate.

"Window cords are killing innocent children at the rate of one child every two weeks. It's the third leading cause in daycares," says Wes Nagara.

It's a statistic he and his family learned the hardest way possible. His bubbly, beautiful 2-year-old baby girl Isabella became a victim in 2009.

"My wife - it was summertime - she took both children, Paul and Isabella, and put them for an afternoon nap," Wes says. "She went into Isabella's room to check on her. As she opened the door she found her strangled on the cord lifeless."

Since then Wes and his brother Ron have been on a crusade to inform consumers of the dangers that blinds cords pose to young children.

Their efforts led to a recall by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the company "Blinds Express of Livonia" of 139,000 custom-made vertical blinds that have an adjustment cord that forms a loop that is not attached to the wall or floor.

"That's what the CPSC and the industry would consider safe," Wes says when talking about non-connected blind adjustment cords. "But these right here, they tangle a lot of times, recreating the loop - so now the loop is created and children can hang on these."

"The CPSC identifies this as top 5 home hazard window," says Ron. "Ultimately when consumers are purchasing blinds and different types of products the sellers are not disclosing a well know danger."

Now, the Nagara's are trying to get action on a state level, with a bill sitting in the house right now.

"The first part is to have a requirement on licensing for day care facilities to actually go by and verify that they do not have blinds with cords in their facility," says Ron. "The other part of the bill is - when there is an installation of window blinds in the home that they have some sort of cleat or some sort of physical component where the cord can actually be wrapped up."

"I owe this to Isabella and other children to try and do everything I can in my power to prevent this from happening again," says Wes.

The bill for Isabella's law has been sitting in the house, in the Government Operations Committee, waiting for consideration since the beginning of the year.

We tried contacting the committee chair, Representative Jim Stamas of Midland. We called Representative Stamas twice, we haven't heard back.

To go along with National Blind Cord Awareness Month, which is October, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson along with State Senator Mike Kowall issued an Executive Order also indentifying the month as Isabella safety month.  

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