Window blinds are seemingly innocuous household features, but these simple shades are an ever-present threat hanging over the heads of children. Although some kids merely suffer a few scrapes or bruises from window blind accidents, others suffer serious injuries including entanglement and strangulation.
Strung up and Strangled
The cords that lower and raise window blinds are designed to be strong to withstand the repeated pulling action they are required to perform. This creates a serious hazard for young children who can become entangled in the cords while playing with them.
Nationwide, it is estimated that roughly 730 children per year are injured from entanglements in window blinds. From 1990 to 2015, more than 17,000 children received treatment in hospital emergency rooms for these types of personal injuries. In addition to strangulation risks, children can also suffer blunt force trauma and eye injuries should they manage to pull the blinds down on top of themselves.
Protecting Children from Harm
The best way to protect children from the harm corded window blinds can cause is to remove them from the room and replace them with child safe blinds that do not have cords. However, if this is not an option, parents should take steps to ensure that cords are kept firmly secured to the wall and out of the reach of children. Parents should also install cameras to monitor their children when they are not in the room as most strangulations occur when neither a parent or caregiver is present.
Standards are Changing
The United States Consumer Product Safety Administration is currently developing new, voluntary safety standards in regard to blind construction and design. It is expected, but not guaranteed, that these standards will be finalized at the end of 2018. However, even when these voluntary standards become effective, it will not remove the product liability or safety risks posed by the millions of blinds that are currently installed within private homes and businesses, nor will it require manufacturers to adopt the stricter safety standards. For now, the strongest form of protection is the removal of these potentially deadly elements of modern design from the home and anywhere the child may come into contact with them.