Child Blind Cord Safety is a term used to make homeowners aware of the dangers of strangulation from loop cords on window blinds of all types.
Window blinds are a feature of many homes up and down the country and are possibly now more common than curtains as a form of privacy.
However, the common window blind poses a major threat to young children from loop cord strangulation, and is a little recognised tragic accident waiting to happen in homes throughout the UK. Find out how you can prevent this tragedy in your home and be aware of child blind cord safety.
According to ROSPA (Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents) at least 35 young children across the UK have died because of looped cords on blinds since 2001, and there will be many more unreported near misses where parents have reached their child just in time.
Why do cords on blinds pose such a danger?
The problem comes from the design of the cord being in a continuous loop.
The blind might look harmless enough, but to a toddler the looped cord can be deadly if wrapped around the neck.
Toddlers are mobile and curious by nature, plus they have no sense of danger. Compared to adults or older children, their heads still weigh proportionately more than their bodies and they have limited muscular control.
This makes them more prone to becoming easily unbalanced and dropping to the floor. Tragically if their neck is entwined in the cord they have no way of freeing themselves.
Because their windpipes are soft and underdeveloped, toddlers can be strangled by looped cords quickly and quietly.
Sadly, the speed of strangulation by a looped cord is very similar to a toddler drowning, even while parents or carers who may be in close proximity are unaware of what is happening.
Blind Cord Safety.
Thankfully, regulations were introduced in 2014, which required new blinds to be safe by design or be supplied with the appropriate child safety devices.
This means that where a cord loop that is present, or one could be created, a safety device must be installed at the point of manufacture.
The safety device must either break under pressure, provide the facility to store the cord out of reach, or have a device that tensions the cord so that it is not dangling freely.
It is a requirement that professional installers must fit these devices, and for DIY kits the instructions stipulate that safety devices must be installed.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that every blind in the country is now safe.
There are likely millions of household blinds up and down the land that were poorly fitted by incompetent installers, inexperienced DIYers, purchased online from unapproved sources, or that are now simply in a state of disrepair.
So what else can be done?
Top Tips For Blind Cord Safety.
Following ROSPA’s research here are some helpful tips for preventing accidents involving looped cords:
- Install blinds that do not have a looped cord, particularly in a child’s bedroom.
- Cords on blinds (and also curtains) that are elsewhere in the home should be kept short and out of reach of children – tie up the cords or use one of the many cleats, cord tidies, clips or ties that are available.
- Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window with blind cords or chains. (or any window where they could climb and potentially fall).
- Do not hang toys or objects from a bed that could potentially be a hazard.
- Do not hang drawstring bags where a small child could get their head through the loop of the drawstring.
It’s not recommend that cords are cut, even as a short-term solution, as they could actually become more dangerous – one cord could become a lot longer than the other, increasing the risk of entanglement resulting in the formation of a new loop.
There are many safety devices for blind cords available on line which are cheap to buy, easy to fit, readily available, and fit for the job.
Considering how easy they are to purchase and install, is it really worth the risk of your child getting caught in a looped cord?
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If you have any top tips for child safety, or wish to share your experience, please feel free to join in the conversation and leave a comment below.