To provide an epidemiologic description of fatal and nonfatal window blind–related injuries among US children younger than 6 years of age.
Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and In-Depth Investigation (IDI) databases were retrospectively analyzed.
From 1990 to 2015, there were an estimated 16 827 (95% confidence interval: 13 732–19 922) window blind–related injuries among children younger than 6 years of age treated in emergency departments in the United States, corresponding to an injury rate of 2.7 per 100 000 children. The most common mechanism of injury was “struck by” (48.8%). Entanglement injuries accounted for 11.9% of all cases, and among this subgroup, 98.9% involved blind cords, and 80.7% were to the neck. Overall, most injuries (93.4%) were treated and released. In IDI reports for 1996 through 2012, we identified 231 window blind cord entanglement incidents among children <6 years of age, and 98.7% involved the child’s neck; entanglements with the window blind’s operating cords (76.4%) or inner cords (22.1%) were the most common. Two-thirds of entanglement incidents included in the IDI database resulted in death (67.1%).
Despite existing voluntary safety standards for window blinds, these products continue to pose an injury risk to young children. Although many of the injuries in this study were nonfatal and resulted in minor injuries, cases involving window blind cord entanglements frequently resulted in hospitalization or death. A mandatory safety standard that eliminates accessible window blind cords should be adopted.