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Window blinds pose fatal risks to children

A 4-year-old toddler died from being entangled in the cords of window blinds in an apartment in Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi Province on Monday.

The child was discovered unconscious by her mother who had briefly left her unattended to use the bathroom. The toddler was taken to the hospital but did not survive. 

(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)
(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

According to the Korea Consumer Agency, Koreans should be mindful of the potential fatal accidents that can take place with the cords of window blinds.

In June, the agency and the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards published preventive guidelines to warn the parents of toddlers about the perils of seemingly innocuous window blinds.

The consumer agency’s inspection of 20 popular window blinds sold online showed that only one brand had attached the required safety descriptive label. Nine products had completely omitted the label, while 10 failed to mark the date of production and other details required to ensure user safety.

The agency cited the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s report that in the U.S., out of 285 accidents between 1996 and 2012, 184 children under 8 years old died from suffocation by window blinds’ cords,

In Canada, from 1986 till recently, 69 accidents occurred, of which 40 resulted in death.

In France, between 2004 and 2014, four accidents occurred, including a 3-year-old’s death. In Japan, between 2011 and 2015, nine accidents occurred and three children died, with two of them 2-year-olds.

In Korea, a 7-year-old boy died in 2015 after getting wound up in the cords. Four cases of accidents involving hazardous blinds cords were reported to KCA between 2013 and 2015.

KCA and KATS advised households with toddlers to use blinds products without cords, or to tie up the cords at least 160 centimeters above the ground, out of the reach of children.

There is also a need for greater attention to be paid to children’s welfare outside of homes.

In early July, two children aged 6 and 7 suffered first degree burns on their hands after playing with soil from flowerbeds that were contaminated with chemical detergent waste.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (