We’ve all seen the warnings and recalls by now about the dangerous mix of kids and pets with certain styles of window coverings. But according to a new study, we’re failing so miserably at actually heeding the safety precautions that some pediatricians are calling for window cords to be “designed out of existence.” Here’s how to keep our most curious family members safe.
CNN reports this week that two children are injured by window blinds every single day in the US — and nearly one child dies every month, according to a just-published study in the journal Pediatrics. In 90 percent of those cases, the parents (of the mostly preschool or younger children) were the caregiver on call.
From 1990 to 2015, nearly 17,000 children under the age of six were treated in emergency rooms for window-blind related injuries, according to the research. Entanglement — which accounted for 11.9 percent of all cases — was associated with nearly 80 percent of 726 hospitalizations and more than 94 percent of 271 deaths of children during that period.
The conclusion, according to the study, is that:
“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.”
So, what can we do to better protect our kids (and pets)?
For starters, the advocacy group Parents for Window Blind Safety (PFWBS) has this illuminating safety chart of hazards by window covering style. Their campaign #GoCordless urges and provides resources for parents who want to replace their window coverings with safer options, including many brands available online at nationwide home stores like Loew’s.
Linda Kaiser, founder and executive director of PFWBS, told CNN that though it’s well known that window blinds can lead to injuries in children — and that this “silent killer” only takes 60 seconds of strangulation to end a child’s life, often when the caregiver is in the same room — the advice to use safety kits or “just tie up” cords is not enough.
Cordless window blind options are available at most major retailers, but if you’d just like to avoid the whole mess, various new varieties of decorative window films can offer privacy and block light without anything for anyone to get tangled up in—except maybe the trance-inducing patterns they can cast on the floor in the sunlight. Plus, they’re temporary! Designer Emily Henderson tested them last year with pretty remarkable results.
Do you have any favorite cordless window options? Share them in the comments.