Fort Worth, Texas,
09:30 AM

Doctors Move to Protect Children from Window Blinds Danger

Physicians call for mandatory safety standards

For more than 70 years, window blinds have been a known child safety hazard. Now physicians are coming together asking for mandatory safety guidelines to protect children.

Nearly 17,000 children under the age of 6 were treated in a U.S. emergency department for window blind-related injuries from 1990 through 2015. On average, roughly one child each month dies – usually from strangulation after the child’s neck became entangled in inner cords such as the kind found in horizontal blinds and roman shades, as well as in cords that raise or lower the blinds.

Because of the danger window blinds pose to children, the authors of a study in Pediatrics magazine, the publication for the American Academy of Pediatrics, want a mandatory safety standard eliminating accessible window blind cords should be adopted. Currently, the safety standards are voluntary.

The study found that injury risk was greatest for toddlers. Most often, a child became entangled in a cord while under the care of a parent and left alone for less than 10 minutes – often after being put to bed.

Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director Cook Children’s Emergency Department, says the children his team sees is usually a toddler to preschool aged child that gets tangled in the cords an in an attempt to get free, strangle themselves.

Dr. Warmink’s advice to parents includes:

  • Ensure any cords from your blinds are tied to an anchor or are too high for a child to reach.
  • Convert your blinds to a self-contained pulley system or a cordless system.
  • If you have blinds with cords, make sure to move any cribs, furniture or toys away from them.
  • Never tie the cords together because that creates a loop in which a child can get entangled.
  • Information Provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

- Information Provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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