Blinds can pose strangulation risk for kids — here’s what parents should know

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Are window blinds more dangerous than we think?
WATCH ABOVE: Are window blinds more dangerous than we think? – Dec 11, 2017

A new study is warning parents to avoid blinds with long cords, citing numerous cases of child deaths and injuries caused by the window coverings.

The research, published in journal Pediatrics, explained that children under six years of age are especially vulnerable to injuries caused by the common household accessory.

READ MORE: 5 ways to help make your home safer for kids

In the United States, nearly 17,000 children were taken to the emergency room with related injuries between 1990 and 2015, the study noted. It added that the most common injury was caused by blinds cords wrapping around the children.

“Despite existing voluntary safety standards for window blinds, these products continue to pose an injury risk to young children,” the study reads, recommending that mandatory safety standards be implemented to ban blind cords altogether.

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Blind coverings concerns in Canada

There have been similar concerns north of the border.

According to Health Canada, there were 69 reports related to strangulation posed by window coverings between 1986 and 2016 — at least 35 were fatal. That’s a rate slightly higher than one death each year.

WATCH: What to look for when buying blinds

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What to look for when buying blinds

Currently, regulations for corded window coverings require manufacturers to attach stop mechanisms meant to prevent the accidental strangulation of children.

In the summer of 2017, Health Canada announced it would consider more strict regulations on blinds. In a press release, the agency explained that it wants to set limits on the length of cords and the size of loops attached to blinds. It also proposed adding a warning on products, explaining that they should be thrown out if the cord becomes too long.

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Health Canada estimated that if action is not taken, there would be 26 related deaths of children in the next two decades.

Recent deaths of children

Two-year-old Bryan Saba from Ireland choked to death in 2015, after he got entangled in the looped cord of the window blind. The toddler’s 16-year-old sister, who was babysitting at the time, found him hanging from the cord.

READ MORE: Parents warn of window blind cords after toddler strangled

“The cords are lethal and silent killers of babies and young children which lurk in homes of parents and carers of young children,” Northern Ireland coroner Joseph McCrisken said of the child’s death.

Another toddler from Staffordshire, U.K. died in a similar accident in 2016. Bronwyn Taylor was left alone for just a few moments when she became tangled in the cords, The Guardian reported.

WATCH: Childproofing your windows

Safety tips for blinds

Health Canada explained that a child tangled in cords can lose consciousness in as little as 15 seconds, and brain damage begins after just four minutes without oxygen. That’s why it’s so important to take safety precautions.

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The government agency recommends parents opt for window coverings without cords — especially in rooms where children play or sleep.

“Any type of cord, such as cords on the side, inside or back of the window covering is a strangulation risk for children,” its website explains.

WATCH: Toddler dies being strangled by blind cords

Click to play video: '‘Silent killers’: Parents warn of window blind cords after toddler accidentally strangled'
‘Silent killers’: Parents warn of window blind cords after toddler accidentally strangled

It also suggests parents follow all manufacturer instructions, take heed of warnings, and keep an eye on any recalls.

If there are cords on window coverings, Health Canada recommends parents mount a cleat or tie-down device on the wall to keep the strings out of reach.

— With files from Global News reporter Emanuela Campanella

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