I-Team: 600 children sent to ER every year with injuries from window blinds in U.S.
A dangerous safety hazard may be hanging in your home. Research in the medial journal Pediatrics found more than 600 children under the age of six end up in emergency rooms every year with injuries from window blinds. Experts say the voluntary regulations are not working and the industry need to eliminate cords on blinds. It's an issue we've heard about for years. Now the Pediatrics research findings are renewing calls for safety changes.
Safety is always a concern for Samantha Ebert with her three busy boys. When they were younger she always made sure to keep them away from the blinds, pulling their beds away from windows.
The blinds are more of a nuisance now when they travel to Grandma's house or a beach rental. "I tie up the cords or use clothes pin so they can't can play with them or pull them down," explains Ebert.
Most injuries caused by window blinds are minor, things like cuts and bruises when kids are hit by falling blinds. But according to Pediatrics one in eight injuries involved a child entangled in the cords often around the neck. Every month a child dies in the U.S. The Alabama Department of Health reports three such deaths in Alabama since 1999.
"We've known about this forever, but have not been able to take care of the problem," says Marie Crew, Director Safe Kids Alabama. The average age of injury is 2.6 years old. 62% of the victims are boys. Most incidents happen at home in just minutes. Crew says your best defense is to get rid of this hazard in the home. "Start by replacing the blinds in the most likely areas for kids to be injured: the bedroom and living room," explains Crew.
We asked Budget Blinds Birmingham owner Steve Thackerson about safe alternatives. He recommends the popular cordless blinds. There are also ones with breakaway cords which break apart with any pressure. Thackerson says installation is key with a good fitting blind that is firmly anchored so it can't easily be pulled down. These products are now becoming affordable options with little or no cost added.
If you can't afford to replace older blinds that present safety risks, there are free retro fit kits:
Pediatrics research article: