Window blinds with cords should be completely banned to prevent children being strangled, a new study has recommended.
Between 1990 and 2015, nearly 17,000 young children in the US were hurt by window blinds and almost 300 died, according to the study. Most deaths occur when children become entangled or strangled by the cords.
Although the US study found no rise or fall in the number of child deaths or injuries from window blinds, it says the fact they are still occurring means current safety standards are inadequate.
Dr Gary Smith, one of the lead authors of the study, said: “A curious child can quickly get entangled in a window blind cord. This can lead to strangulation within minutes, and the parent may not hear a thing because the child often can’t make a sound while this is happening.”
The research, carried out by the US Child Injury Prevention Alliance, the Ohio State University and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was published in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers concluded: “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 non-fatal and resulted in minor injuries, cases involving window blind cord entanglements frequently resulted in hospitalisation or death.
“A mandatory safety standard that eliminates accessible window blind cords should be adopted.”
The study’s results were based on data from 100 A&E departments in the US, which were used to make national estimates.
It noted that the dangers window blind cords pose to children had been highlighted as long ago as 1945.
“It is unacceptable that children are still dying from window blind cord strangulation,” said Dr Smith. “We have known about this problem since the 1940s
“It is time to eliminate the hazard."
EU regulations introduced in 2014 mean new blinds must be “safe by design” or be supplied with appropriate child safety devices installed, such as ones that break under pressure.
However, many UK homes are still fitted with older blinds that do not meet these standards.
Research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents shows that there have been at least 21 deaths across the UK due to looped blind cords since 2010.
In 2016, 16-month-old Bronwyn Taylor died after getting entangled in a window blind cord at her grandparents’ home.
In 2010, Leah Edwards was strangled to death by a blind cord while in her cot next to her 17-month-old twin brother.