Two children ages 6 and under are injured by window blinds every day, and nearly one child dies every month as a result of the household item, according to data analyzed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The study, which took information from two U.S. databases over a period of 25 years (1990-2015), examined the types of injuries 16,827 children experienced from a window blind injury that needed to be treated in an emergency department. Researchers found that the most common injury involved a child being "struck by" a window blind or window blind cord. In those cases, fortunately, most injuries were treatable.
A smaller group of injuries—11.9 percent of all cases—involved entanglement, with the majority of entanglements involving the neck and exposed blind cords. Unfortunately, in cases of entanglement, the injuries were not always treatable. According to APA, the majority of entanglement incidents ultimately resulted in the death of the child.
Even more alarming, the majority of the entanglement death and injuries occurred at home, while the parents were present, although not in direct sight of the child. Many cases occurred after the child had gone to bed, for example, or when a parent stepped out of the room while their child was watching TV. Thus, bedrooms and living rooms were the leading areas in the home where the incidents happened.
The researchers in the study noted how dangerous cord entanglement can be because it happens so quickly. Also, due to the nature of the injury, the child isn't able to call for help, so the parent or caregiver never hears the accident happen. Toddlers and preschoolers, who are naturally curious, small, and especially agile and mobile, are most at risk for exploring and having an accident.
So, what does the data mean? It means that there might be a change in window-blind standards coming very soon. The AAP noted that these findings are especially important because although many companies have already updated their window blinds and blind cords with voluntary safety standards, clearly it is not enough.
Window blinds and window blind cords are still harming two children every single day and killing close to one child every month. And that, in the eyes of the AAP, is not acceptable. The organization is calling for a "mandatory safety standard" to eliminate all accessible window blind cords to stop any further injuries or deaths. A mandatory safety standard that would eliminate all window blind cords is currently awaiting approval by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, and it is expected to go into effect in mid- to late 2018.
In the meantime, experts from the Parents for Window Blind Safety are reminding parents that simply tying cords up is not enough to protect children. The best and safest protection against injury or death by window cord blinds is to get rid of the window blind cords completely. You can also check the organization's website for a list of approved cordless window treatments.