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Accidental Strangulation Is Hazard of Looped Blind Cords

In U.K., one to two children thought to die each year from blind cord strangulation

FRIDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Noting that one to two children are thought to die each year from cord blind strangulation in the United Kingdom, recommendations should be implemented to reduce the risks associated with cord blinds, according to a case report letter published online April 29 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Manas Datta, M.D., and Job Cyriac, M.D., from Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, U.K., describe a case of accidental strangulation involving a 22-month-old boy who was found hanging onto a pull chain of a blind cord by his mother after a four-minute absence from the room. The boy was not breathing and was blue, but after being laid on the ground he started breathing and his breathing pattern had normalized by the time the paramedics arrived.

The authors note that one or two young children are thought to die each year in the United Kingdom from cord blind strangulation. In the United States, more than 200 infants and young children have died from accidental strangulation in window blind cords since 1990. The mortality rate is very high and most accidental deaths occur in children aged 16 to 36 months. Recommendations produced by the British Blind and Shutter Association together with the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents include installation of cordless blinds; use of short pull cords; use of safety devices; and avoidance of placing cots, beds, or high chairs near a window.

"It is hoped that a concerted campaign by the community practitioners and a voluntary agreement between manufacturers and retailers will eventually see an end to looped blind cords altogether," the authors write. "In the meantime, it is imperative that parents are educated about the hazards of window blind cords and appropriate safety devices are installed in homes with young children."

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