As any parent can tell you, it is impossible to completely child-proof a house. Innocent bookshelves become the keepers of terrifying sharp corners; a beautiful backyard pool takes on the form of an in-ground drowning hazard. And even the most innocuous of household items grow bigger and badder. Case in point: this mom's warning to other parents about window blinds because aside from providing privacy, they can also come with some serious risks.
Mom and blogger Stevie Niki recently found out just how dangerous window blinds can be while she was folding laundry as her young son played nearby. The mother of four explained in an Instagram post that she was only a few feet away when her son, Tanye, got tangled up in the blind cord, ending up with it wrapped around his neck.
Editor's Note: The above referenced Instagram post has since been deleted.
"Next thing I know, I hear him start to quietly cry my name 'mamma' I looked up from the washing pile and see him caught in the cords, with them wrapped around his neck," she explained in the post. "I immediately jump up as fast as I can and untangle him."
After deciding that it was best to spread her story — along with a warning to other parents — Niki noted in her post that her home has vertical blinds that can come with an overlooked risk.
"We often read and hear about how the the cords on our blinds (that pull them up and down) should be secured tightly to the frame work," she wrote. "... But these cords along the bottom are clearly a major over sight [sic] (at least they were to me) when it comes to the safety of our littles."
In a similar incident, but with a different kind of blinds, another mom over in the United Kingdom found her 4-year-old daughter entangled in a cord of their window blinds, according to the Daily Post. The girl was cut free by her mom, Laurie Gath, before any serious damage was done, but her father Karl Williams wrote on Facebook that it could have been much worse.
Williams shared photos of the incident on Facebook last week and urged parents to remove the cord from their window blinds if young children are in the home. "We could have lost her, children will climb on a windowsill regardless of how you try to stop them," he wrote on Facebook.
This dad, like Niki, wants to spread awareness to other parents about how dangerous window blinds can be. "The more people that are aware of this the better," he told the Daily Post. "People need to check blinds/curtains/vents, the more it reaches people the safer it can be for children. We were so lucky."
It is fortunate for both families that the parents were nearby when the incidents occurred. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when children get tangled up in these sort of cords. The nonprofit organization Parents For Window Blind Safety reports more than 1,600 children ranging between the ages of 14 months to 8 years old have visited emergency rooms across the country for near strangulations over the last 20 years. Even more devastatingly, 599 strangulation deaths were reported since 1986, according to the organization.
Both parents shared their story on social media with the hopes of raising awareness of the dangers of window blind cords. While it is simply impossible to plan for every potential disaster in the home, staying close to young children while they play and perhaps opting for cordless blinds in your home can help keep children safe. As these parents' warnings have shown, accidents can happen in a matter of seconds.