A study demonstrates that continued deaths from strangulation on window blind cords demonstrate urgent need for stronger safety standards. Almost 17,000 children under six years of age were treated in hospital emergency departments in the US 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.

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. 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 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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Follow all the 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.