Window blind cords and chains can pose a risk to young children who could injure or even strangle themselves on the hanging looped cords. According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, on average 2 children are strangled by blind cords in the UK each year.
New products on the market should comply with a revised safety standard, which aims to significantly reduce the risk of strangulation. When choosing new blinds for homes or places where children live or visit, the advice is to look for a blind that does not contain cords or has concealed cords.
Where children still come into contact with older products which do not comply with the standard, it is possible to retro-fit one of the available safety devices. Being aware of the hazards and how children can be protected by taking appropriate precautions is essential to reducing the risk looped blind cords pose.
Advice to consumers, parents and carers
- Cords ending in a loop are particularly risky. Where practicable, operating cords, chains and tapes or similar should be kept as short as possible.
- Cords should be out of the reach of children. Replace cords with curtain or blind wands.
- Where cords cannot be cut or tied down, a tension device can be used to pull the cord tight and secured to the floor or wall.
- Never put a cot, bed, high chair or playpen near a window or patio door where a child can reach a curtain or blind cord.
- Keep sofas, chairs, tables, shelves and book cases away from windows to prevent children climbing up and reaching curtains or blind cords. People in charge of children are ultimately responsible for following the safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.