This common household item can pose a deadly threat

This common household item can pose a deadly threat

Although warnings have been issued about the dangers of corded window blinds for some years, with many big box stores taking the products off their shelves, a new study published in Pediatrics revealed that more than 16,000 children in the U.S. were treated for window blind-related injuries between 1990 and 2015.

In general, children suffered minor injuries such as small cuts as a result of cord entanglement. However, 271 children died from window cord strangulation during the study’s time frame. Strangulation 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.

“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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  1. simple solution January 5, 2018 at 1:51 pm · Reply

    Simple solution. Most corded blinds have 3+ strings that are used to raise/lower the blinds. From the point where it is fully lowered to the end (fully raised), BRAID THE CORD. Once it is braided into a cord there is NOTHING FOR A CHILD TO GET HUNG UP ON. I have seen parents do some ridiculous attempts to modify the pull cord (i.e. cut it off to 2″ in length–which makes it hard to work unless you are very tall). Just BRAID THE CORD. If it has 4 strands and you only know how to braid in 3’s, do 1-1-2 strands in the braid. Simple, easy solution, inexpensive, the blinds still work fine and the kids don’t get hurt. There is no reason to disable or cut off the cord or switch to mechanical controls when you can just braid the cord and solve the problem once and for all.

  2. Excellent reminder! I use push button accordion blinds. However, I have curtains with 6 foot drawstrings. Braiding them would not work. A double sided hook bracket attached to the wall up high allows you to wind up all chords. A little inconvenient, yes, but safe nevertheless. (I made one using two small pieces of wood. I attached a 4 inch piece to the wall then a 6 inch piece on top of it. It works fine and fast.)

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.