There are plenty of hidden dangers in every home that many of us probably never think about. That is, until we have kids.
Then, suddenly, the Pine-Sol under the sink and the hand sanitizer you keep on your desk no longer seem so harmless. Hell, even swimming pools can literally eviscerate your kid. It's no wonder so many of us are turning into helicopter parents.
And now, there's another danger to worry about — although, if you're a parent, there's a good chance you're already worrying — window blinds.
A new study in the medical journal Pediatrics has found that window blind-related incidents account for approximately one death of a child every month and two injuries every day. The research analyzed data from two national databases that collect information on reasons why people were either hospitalized or called paramedics. The data showed that between 1990 and 2015, almost 17,000 children younger than six were treated in emergency rooms for window-blind related injuries.
That seems like a massive number, and it's scary to think about the 11.9% of those children who got tangled up in the blinds' strings and the 271 children who died (94% of them because they were caught by the cords). But, if you truly think about the numbers, they aren't actually all that huge.
For comparison, the CDC reported in 2015 that approximately 2.8 million children go to the emergency room every year for injuries relating to a fall. That's more than 7,600 every day, and since all of the parents you know aren't constantly bringing their children to the ER for a fall, then it seems even those 7,600 are a small percentage compared to the children who make it through the day unscathed.
Still, two injuries a day and one death a month clearly indicates a problem. And this problem has an easy fix. The report states that almost all of the injuries involved the cords that move window blinds up and down, and plenty of window blinds these days no longer have those cords.
Gary Smith, MD, lead author on the study, told CNN that the solution might just be a matter of "designing the problem out of existence." He wants it to be mandatory for window blind manufacturers to sell blinds that don't have exposed cords.
It's a step some retailers are already taking. IKEA, for example, promised to only sell cordless blinds in 2015. So, while the two-a-day statistic may not indicate that you need to add window blinds to your ever-growing list of things to worry about as a parent, there is at least a simple fix to make sure it's never a problem. Ditch your blinds for the cordless type, which can cost as little as $12.
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