When parents put their babies down to sleep, they may be conscientious about putting them on their backs and keeping the crib free of quilts and stuffed animals. They may not realize, however, that another hazard is just a few feet away — window cords.

Since 1991, more than 175 infants and children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). That's why the CPSC and the Window Covering Safety Council have designated October as National Window Covering Safety Month.

Infants placed in cribs near windows may be able to grasp a dangling window pull cord, pull it into the crib and unintentionally wrap it around their neck. Toddlers and preschoolers playing on beds or climbing on furniture near windows can become tangled in window cords.

Consumers should inspect the cords and chains of all of their window coverings and consider cordless and other alternative window coverings. Consumers with window coverings purchased before 2001 are urged to repair or replace the coverings. Free repair kits are available at www.windowcoverings.orgor by calling 800-506-4636.

In addition, the Window Covering Safety Council offers the following tips:

  • Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.

  • Keep all window cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled pull cords are short and that continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the floor or wall.

  • Never tie window blind cords or chains together because the knot creates a new loop, in which a young child could become entangled.

  • Lock cords into position when lowering horizontal coverings or shades.

  • Consider installing cordless window coverings in children's bedrooms and play areas.