Injuries from window blinds send two children to the emergency department every day

December 11, 2017

Most homes have them. They help keep our rooms warm or cold and even add a pop of color to tie the décor together. But window blinds can cause serious injuries or even death to young children. A new study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital looks at this ongoing cause of injury and fatality and urges the industry to do more for the safety of our children.

The study, published today in Pediatrics, found that almost 17,000 children under six years of age were treated in hospital emergency departments in the U.S. for window blind-related injuries from 1990 through 2015, averaging almost two per day. While the majority of children were treated and released, there was about one child death each month - most from strangulation when a child became entangled by the neck in a window blind cord.

The dangers come from inner cords such as those found in horizontal blinds and roman shades, operating cords used to raise and lower the blinds, continuous loop cords such as those found in vertical and roll up shades, or even from loops created by consumers after installation - when cords become knotted or tangled, or when they are tied to a stationary object in an attempt to keep them out of a child's reach.

"There is a misperception that if we just watch our kids carefully, they will be safe. But even the best parent in the world cannot watch their child every second of every day," said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, senior author of this study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "A curious child can quickly get entangled in a window blind cord. This can lead to strangulation within minutes, and the parent may not hear a thing because the child often can't make a sound while this is happening."

The dangers of blind cords peak between 1 to 4 years of age as toddlers gain mobility and become curious about their surroundings. They are able to reach blind cords, but they do not understand the danger of strangulation and are unable to free themselves once entangled. Most injuries in the study occurred while a child was under a parent's care and had been left alone for less than 10 minutes while either going to sleep, playing, or watching TV.

"It is unacceptable that children are still dying from window blind cord strangulation," said Dr. Smith. "We have known about this problem since the 1940s. The risk reduction approaches offered by the current voluntary safety standards are not enough. It is time to eliminate the hazard. Safe, affordable cordless blinds and shades are widely available. A mandatory federal safety standard should be adopted prohibiting the sale of products with accessible cords."

Until all window blinds are cordless, parents should follow these recommendations to reduce the risk of window blind-related strangulation.
-end-
Data for this study were obtained from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) and In-Depth Investigation (IDI) databases, which are maintained by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The NEISS database provides information on consumer product-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments across the country. The IDI database contains reports from CPSC field investigators, who follow-up on selected consumer product-related incidents.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research at its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, policy, and advances in clinical care. For related injury prevention materials or to learn more about CIRP, visit http://www.injurycenter.org.

Nationwide Children's Hospital

Related Children Articles from Brightsurf:

Black and Hispanic children in the US have more severe eczema than white children
A presentation at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting reveals the disparities that exist for Black and Hispanic children when it comes to Atopic Dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema.

Black children with cancer three times less likely to receive proton radiotherapy than White children
A retrospective analysis led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital has found racial disparities in the use of the therapy for patients enrolled in trials.

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: First Europe-wide study of children confirms COVID-19 predominately causes mild disease in children and fatalities are very rare
Children with COVID-19 generally experience a mild disease and fatalities are very rare, according to a study of 582 patients from across Europe published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

Children not immune to coronavirus; new study from pandemic epicenter describes severe COVID-19 response in children
- While most children infected with the novel coronavirus have mild symptoms, a subset requires hospitalization and a small number require intensive care.

How many children is enough?
Most Russians would like to have two children: a boy and a girl.

Preterm children have similar temperament to children who were institutionally deprived
A child's temperament is affected by the early stages of their life.

Only-children more likely to be obese than children with siblings
Families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child.

Children living in countryside outperform children living in metropolitan area in motor skills
Residential density is related to children's motor skills, engagement in outdoor play and organised sports. that Finnish children living in the countryside spent more time outdoors and had better motor skills than their age peers in the metropolitan area.

Hispanic and black children more likely to miss school due to eczema than white children
In a study that highlights racial disparities in the everyday impact of eczema, new research shows Hispanic and black children are more likely than white children to miss school due to the chronic skin disease.

Children, their parents, and health professionals often underestimate children's higher weight status
More than half of parents underestimated their children's classification as overweight or obese -- children themselves and health professionals also share this misperception, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK (April 28-May 1).

Read More: Children News and Children Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.