Accidents are the Biggest Killer of Small Children
According to the National Centre for Health Statistics, accidents are the biggest killer of small children. In 2014 there were 1,216 recorded deaths from unintentional injuries for children between the ages of 1 and 4, and 730 deaths for children aged between 5 and 9. It is estimated that one infant is strangled to death every month in the United States from window blinds, and it has become such a grave issue that stores such as Ikea and Target have already removed corded blinds from their shelves, with other big stores such as Walmart to follow in 2018.
Unfortunately, accidents caused by window blinds are also a big issue in the UK. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has found that at least 18 child deaths have been caused by looped blinds since 2010, and a report from Chief Medical Offers suggests that there are still millions of potentially unsafe blinds in homes across the UK which could cause future tragedies.
Why are Blind Cords Dangerous?
The main reason why blind cords are so dangerous is that parents aren’t aware of the risks that they pose to young children and the safety measures in place aren’t strict enough. According to this PWBS infographic, 57% of cases in the United States would not have been prevented by the current safety standards.
Physically, young children are also at a stage which makes them particularly susceptible. Although the age of children at risk extends all the way from 7 months to 7 years old, the average age for a fatal blind cord accident is 23 months. At this age muscular control is not yet fully developed, limiting the infant’s ability to untangle themselves. On top of this young children also suffocate much faster than adults meaning there is less time to save them.
Useful Child Safety Tips for Existing Blinds
- Cords should be kept short and out of reach- but you shouldn’t cut them. This can lead to the blind becoming inoperable and might also result in one cord becoming longer than the other, increasing the risk of entanglement.
- Avoid placing children’s furniture near windows to reduce the risk of accidents. This includes playpens and cots.
- Separate Safety Systems can be implemented. Use chain break connectors, cord tidies, clips or cleats to reduce the risk of the child becoming entangled in cords.
Improve Window Child Safety with These Alternatives
Window coverings which don’t use cords or implement tensioned or concealed cords are considered to be Safe by Design and should always be your first option. These include:
Interior Window Shutters
Interior window shutters are a great way to avoid the risks associated with blind cords. They are opened and closed electronically or with a tilt rod mechanism, and provide a stylish and safe alternative to suit both modern and traditional homes. See our excellent range of made to measure shutters for some inspiration.
Cordless Blinds are widely available, and although they cost a bit more they are also a reliable and safe alternative. Venetian blinds, spring-operated roller blinds and tension pleated blinds are all great examples. Find out more about going cordless at Parents for Window Blind Safety.
Window Guards for Children’s Safety
Window Guards are a set of removable steel bars which fit most window types. Although they won’t prevent accidents with blind cords, they are a fantastic method to help prevent potential window falls. Find out more about Child Safety Window Guards here.