Last week there was an item on BBC Breakfast News highlighting the potential danger from the hanging chords from blinds. They interviewed a very brave family who described how they discovered their toddler dead in her cot with the blind cord round her neck.
She was not a “fiddler”, and they were surprised that she managed to reach the chord from her cot.
Rospa (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) says “Research indicates that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom and occur in children between 16 months and 36 months old, with the majority (more than half) happening at around 23 months.
These toddlers are mobile, but their heads still weigh proportionately more than their bodies compared to adults and their muscular control is not yet fully developed, which makes them more prone to be unable to free themselves if they become entangled.
In addition, toddlers’ windpipes have not yet fully developed and are smaller and less rigid than those of adults and older children. This means that they suffocate far more quickly if their necks are constricted.
As with drowning, toddlers can be strangled quickly and quietly by looped cords with carers in close proximity, potentially unaware of what is happening.
To reduce the risk posed by looped cords, including blind cords, cords should be kept out of the reach of children.”
Fortunately such accidents are rare. However they are preventable. If you have got blinds with cords you can fit something called a cleats which you can get free of charge from ROSPA. A cleat is easy to fit and ensures that the chords are out of reach of small children.
Here is a Video from You Tube – Safety Advice for Loop Cord Blinds – which shows how easy it is to fit the cleats.
VOSPA’s safety advice is as follows:
- Install blinds that do not have a cord, particularly in a child’s bedroom
- Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window
- Pull cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short and kept out of reach
- Tie up the cords or use one of the many cleats, cord tidies, clips or ties available
- Do not hang toys or objects that could be a hazard on the cot or bed
- Don’t hang drawstring bags that a small child can get their head through the loop of the drawstring.
In addition to blinds – Airer’s – particularly those old fashioned ones that work on a pulley system can also be a danger not just for small children – even older ones. I heard some years ago of a ten year old who managed to get the chord from an airer stuck round her neck. A bit of a freak accident maybe, but worth explaining to children from a young age that these are not toys to be fiddled with and are potentially dangerous.