Young children are quick, curious, and unable to recognize danger. Many parents underestimate these factors. 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. A curious child can quickly get entangled in a window blind cord. This can lead to strangulation within minutes.
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 serious injuries occur while a child is under a parent’s care and left alone for less than 10 minutes while either going to sleep, playing, or watching TV.
- 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 650 per year or 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. (271 fatalities over the 26-year study period.
Until all window blinds are cordless, parents should follow these recommendations to reduce the risk of window blind-related strangulation.
- Replace. The best way to keep your children safe is to replace all blinds that have cords with either cordless blinds, blinds with inaccessible cords, or other types of cordless window coverings, such as interior window shutters, draperies, and curtains.
- If you are unable to replace or remove all of your window blinds with cords at one time, start with the windows in the rooms where your child spends the most time – usually bedrooms and living rooms – and replace the others as you can.
- Retrofit. Retrofit kits to address some types of cord hazards are available from the manufacturer. While the fixes provided by these retrofit kits are a good start, remember that removing corded blinds altogether is the best way to protect your child. Some of the fixes can provide a false sense of security if they are not used correctly all of the time by everyone who lives in or visits your home.
- Move furniture. Cribs, beds, couches, and other furniture should be moved away from windows so children cannot climb on them to get to the window or window blind cords.
- Every room, every home. Take these steps in every room of the home. Also talk to people at the other places where your child spends time such as the grandparents’ house, child care, or school. Ask them to also remove window blinds with cords to help keep your child safer.
Additional Window Blinds Resources
Pediatric Injuries Related to Window Blinds, Shades, and Cords