Study: Window Blinds With Cords Are Not Safe For Kids

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Cords on window blinds injure nearly two children in America each day, and now a group of researchers is proposing to ban them.

According to a study published on Dec. 11 in the journal "Pediatrics," cords on window blinds have long been recognized for the threat they pose to children. The Chicago Tribune notes a 1945 report cited in the study in which two children accidentally hung themselves, but ultimately survived.

Close to 17,000 children landed in the emergency room for cord-related injuries between 1990 and 2015. While 93 percent of those children had non-serious injuries, 271 incidents were fatal, usually because the children became entangled in the cords, NPR reports.

Several parents shared their experiences with news outlets.

Speaking to "CBS This Morning," Jeremy and Carol Eastburn recounted how they lost their 4-year-old daughter Presley Marie to strangulation from a window blind cord. The girl had been left alone for 10 minutes while Carol was on the phone with her husband. When Carol discovered what happened, Jeremy recalled hearing "the most horrible, blood curdling scream."

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"It was like all the life had been sucked out of her," Carol said. "I just told Presley, 'Mommy's here. Hold on for Mommy. And I love you. I love you. I love you.'"

Presley Marie died five days later.

Colorado mom Andrea Sutton told NPR of the time when her 3-year-old son Daniel became entangled in a window blind cord eight years ago. Daniel had a lot of energy, but it was too cold outside at the time to let him go play, so Sutton read to him and then put him down for a nap. By the time she returned to check on him with her daughter, it was already too late.

"When my daughter and I found him, we didn't know how long he was strangling," Sutton said. "[The paramedics] tried to do as much as they could, but I knew he was gone. A mom just knows."

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Linda Kaiser, whose 1-year-old daughter died from a window blind cord in 2002, says the study "should be a huge wake-up call to the public, to the retailers, to the manufacturers and to parents all over the nation to really see how hazardous the cords on the blinds are."

Kaiser went on to form the group Parents for Window Blind Safety, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Paul Nathanson, a spokesman for the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, said a standard from the Consumer Product Safety Commission will soon be adopted industry-wide. Following approval by the American National Standards Institute, corded blinds will no longer be available in stores or online starting sometime in 2018. They will still be available through custom orders.

The study's lead author, Dr. Gary Smith of the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, says the industry standard is not enough since 20 percent of blinds are custom made.

"Safe, affordable cordless blinds and shades are widely available," Smith said, according to CBS News. "A mandatory federal safety standard should be adopted prohibiting the sale of products with accessible cords if the industry is not willing to do this through the voluntary standard process."

Sources: CBS News, Chicago Tribune, NPR / Featured Image: r. nial bradshaw/Flickr / Embedded Images: PxHere, Pixabay

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