The hidden dangers of window blinds for young children

The hidden dangers of window blinds for young children

Ikea and Target have taken a stand against a hidden danger lurking in people’s homes.

The big-box retailers have taken blinds with cords off the market after national organizations and safety experts slammed the products for safety risks they pose to young children.

It is estimated that a child between 7 months and 10 years old dies or suffers near strangulation from window cords about once a month, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Hanging can occur when children innocently wrap cords around their neck or become trapped in a looped cord.

Alix McNulty, an injury prevention coordinator at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., says that parents shouldn’t only be cautious of corded blinds.

“People need to be aware of any window coverings that have exposed cords,” McNulty says. “Many curtains on track – roman shades or window darkening shades –have pull cords that prove to be a deadly hazard. Anything that has a loose cord, rope or beaded chain needs to be reevaluated if small children are present.”

The CPSC recommends the following four tips to protect young children around corded window blinds:

  • Examine all shades and blinds in the home. When possible, use cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit. Make sure there are no accessible cords on the front, side or back of the product.
  • Do not place cribs, beds or furniture close to the windows because children can climb on them and gain access to the cords.
  • Make loose cords inaccessible.
  • If the window shade has looped bead chains or nylon cords, install tension devices to keep the cord taut.

Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart have announced they also will take corded window blinds off the shelf, but not until 2018.

“Until store shelves are completely free of corded window blinds, parents should make sure the blinds they are purchasing do not have any cords,” says McNulty. “Even blinds with hard-to-reach interior cords pose a high risk of strangulation to young kids.”

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About the Author

Julie Nakis
Julie Nakis

Julie Nakis, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. She earned her BA in communications from the University of Iowa – Go Hawkeyes! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring the city and cheering on the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks.