Window blind accidents a 'silent death'

Posted at 4:08 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 12:24:03-04
Little Nyah Mar from Mesa should be getting ready to finish her third-grade year.  
Another Mesa toddler, Brooke Baurlein, would've turned 17 years old this summer.  
Both girls died, 6 years apart to the month, after they were accidentally strangled by window blind cords.
"She was amazing," Brooke's mother Shannon Harris said over Skype. "She was fiery."
Harris now lives in Texas. She said the night of Brooke's hanging death on May 15, 2003, there was a lunar eclipse.
"I assume she wanted to see what was out there and what everyone else was looking at," Harris said.
Her 18-month-old sister Noelle, whom she shared a room with at their Val Vista Drive apartment, alerted their father. It was too late. Brooke died at the hospital.
The entire subject of corded blinds fires up Rick Steele, co-founder of the e-commerce company based in Mesa.
"People just think their blinds are safe because they're made by these huge conglomerates," Steele said. "The reality is a kid this month is going to die and a kid next month is gonna die on a blind cord."  
So Steele said enough is enough. He decided to buck the system. Steele said in March, became the first custom window covering company in the nation to go 100% cordless.  It's a move that can't sit well with other blind companies which Steele said has had lobbyists working Washington for decades to make sure corded blinds aren't outlawed.
"We just said what is it? Is it profit or priorities? It's priorities (for us)," Steele said.
So why are there corded blinds on the market?
Elliot Kaye, Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission told ABC news last year that it boils down to money.  
"I don't know what the issue is, other than greed," Kaye said.
However, former acting Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair Nancy Nord told ABC it makes no sense to ban them because most homes don't have small kids.
"For the 90 percent of American consumers that don't have small children, the corded options may make some sense," she said.
That 10 percent with little kids was enough for to make the change. They've launched a campaign called #GoCordless.
"The reality is any kid that dies is one too many. We're on a mission to save kids' lives, that's what were gonna do," said Steele.