“Seventy years ago we recognized that this was a product that was killing kids.”
— Nationwide Children’s Hospital researcher Dr. Gary Smith.
Window blinds still kill children. Soon, corded blinds will be unavailable to consumers in stores and online, although they will still be available as custom orders. After publishing a study last month in Pediatrics looking at the hidden dangers of corded blinds, Dr. Smith and others say they should all be banned, writes Lindsey Tanner:
The study “should be a huge wake-up call to the public, to the retailers, to the manufacturers and to parents all over the nation to really see how hazardous the cords on the blinds are,” said Linda Kaiser of St Louis. Her 1-year-old daughter died in 2002 from strangulation when she pulled a looped hidden cord from a blind and put it around her neck. Kaiser later formed the advocacy group Parents for Window Blind Safety.
Tara Haelle says injuries and strangulation deaths from the corded window blinds happen more frequently than one might think:
In fact, more than 16,000 children in the US were treated in emergency departments for injuries caused by window blinds between 1990 and 2015, an average of almost two children every day, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics. Although most of those children (93 percent) weren’t seriously injured, 271 children died during that time.
Almost half of injuries overall involved being hit by the blinds, usually causing only cuts or bruises, but more than 1 in 8 children (12 percent) became entangled in blinds’ cords. Two thirds of children who became entangled in the cords died, averaging nearly one child every month for the past 26 years. And those are just the injuries and deaths recorded in the two databases used for the study…
Pediatricians and pediatric health care providers need to educate parents on the risk during well child visits, particularly before children reach the ages of 1-4 years old, when they’re at the most risk, Smith says.
“But messaging is not enough,” Smith adds. “Designing the problem out of existence, in this case by manufacturing only cordless blinds, is the most effective strategy.”
Check your windows now and place window blind cords away from where grabby toddler hands can reach them.