Study: 271 child deaths linked to window blinds since 1990
MelissaJenco, News Content Editor
More than 600 young children are treated in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) each
year for injuries related to window blinds, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s
Hospital are calling for a new mandatory safety standard to prevent these injuries,
which can be fatal.
The team studied incident reports from two U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) databases and reported its findings in the article “Pediatric Injuries Related
to Window Blinds, Shades, and Cords” (Onders B, et al. Pediatrics. Dec. 11, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-2359).
Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the authors estimated
about 16,827 children under age 6 years were treated in an ED for a window blind injury
from 1990-2015. Roughly 61.6% were boys, and the average age was 2.6 years. About
65.3% of the injuries occurred in the head region, and just under half of all those
injured were struck by the blinds, according to the study.
While 93.4% were treated and released, there were 271 deaths, nearly all of which
were associated with entanglement. The In-Depth Investigation database, which includes
detailed reports on 231 blind cord entanglements, found that about 67% resulted in
“The dangers associated with blinds are evident as toddlers gain mobility and become
curious about their surroundings,” authors wrote. “Although possessing the motor skills
necessary to access blind cords, they lack the cognitive ability to understand the
risk of strangulation or the developmental maturity to free themselves once entangled.”
Safety standards related to window blind cords are voluntary. The CPSC has expressed
support for a mandatory safety standard requiring window coverings to be cordless
or ensure children cannot access the cords. Researchers echoed calls for mandatory
“While the need for mandatory safety standards requiring the elimination (of) window
blind cords is clear, no such regulations currently exist,” authors wrote. “In the
meantime, child caregivers should be advised of the dangers associated with window
blinds and the preventive measures that can reduce injury risk.”
Those measures, they said, include using cordless window coverings and keeping furniture
away from blinds with cords so that children cannot reach them.