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Study: 271 child deaths linked to window blinds since 1990 :

December 11, 2017

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,

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 death.

“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 standards.

“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.

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