Blind cord campaign in Scotland
Since the launch of the Make it Safe campaign in the Western Isles in February 2012, almost 2500 packs, containing a safety advice leaflet and a cleat (a small plastic device that is fitted to the side of the window for the operating cord to be wrapped around), have been distributed to families in the area.
Health visitors, nurseries, Safetywise (a multi-agency accident prevention group) and other children's service providers have helped to give out the packs to parents and carers of young children. Marina Macsween, Trading Standards Officer, said "The Make it Safe campaign has been very well received - we have had excellent feedback and are pleased that almost 2,500 families are now aware of the risks of looped blind cords. We hope that they will pass the message on to their friends and families."
The campaign was funded by the generous donations of Scottish businesses. More than £3,300 was donated by businesses at the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards gala dinner at the Hilton Glasgow in September 2011. There are still some packs available in local libraries in the Western Isles. Leaflets are also available in Gaelic and Polish.
Click here to visit our Home Safety in Scotland webpage.
RoSPA's own research indicates that most accidental blind cord deaths happen in a bedroom, involving children aged between 16 and 36 months.
RoSPA is aware of a number of deaths in blind cord accidents in the UK. RoSPA's own research indicates that most accidental blind cord deaths happen in a bedroom, involving children aged between 16 and 36 months.
RoSPA set up a pilot Make it Safe project in North Lanarkshire with financial backing from the Scottish Government's Community Safety unit followed by projects in South Lanarkshire, Fife, East Dunbartonshire and the Borders.
15,000 packs have been distributed so far across Scotland.
"The Scottish Government has been happy to support the extremely practical and important work done by RoSPA in leading Make it Safe and taking its messages across Scotland.
"Any instance of a death involving blind cords is a tragedy, not least because there are simple steps that can be taken to prevent them. If they haven't done so already, I would urge anyone with young children in their care to learn more about the risks associated with blind cords, so that they can make sure they have taken the necessary steps to protect their loved ones."
- Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs
What's in a Make it Safe pack?
- Make it Safe leaflet cleat providing parents and carers with safety tips
- A cleat - a small plastic device that is fitted to the side of the window for the operating cord to be wrapped around
Make it Safe is expanding in Scotland thanks to the generous donations of Scottish businesses. RoSPA is supporting local authorities and community organisations in West Lothian, the Western Isles, West Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh and East Lothian to distribute 12,000 Make it Safe packs.
More than £3,300 was donated by businesses at the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards gala dinner at the Hilton Glasgow in September 2011.
The father of blind cord victim Muireann McLaughlin helped to launch Gaelic safety advice on the fourth anniversary of her tragic death.
The Make it Safe leaflets that advise families about the best ways to reduce the risks posed to children by looped cords or chains have been translated into Gaelic and Polish. They have been produced are available in hard copy or as a PDF file. The Make it Safe leaflets (produced in partnership with the British Blind and Shutter Association) in Gaelic and Polish can be downloaded below.
April - September 2011
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents expanded its blind cord safety awareness campaign to three new areas in Scotland: Borders, Fifeand South Lanarkshire.
The local authorities raised awareness of the safety issues surrounding looped blind cords by distributing 12,000 Make it Safe packs.
Further funding from the Scottish Government made the roll out possible, and all the projects ran from April to September.
Following the campaigns’ initial success, East Dunbartonshire Council teamed up with RoSPA and funded its own Make it Safe project which ran from June to September.
Collectively, the overall findings for Fife, South Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire show that 47% of respondents were not aware of the information surrounding blind cord safety. 57% of respondents had looped blind cords in their homes at the time of receiving the information and 80% of these have since fitted the cleat they received. 53% of respondents have gone on to discuss the dangers of looped cords with other parents or carers. Please note that Scottish Borders were excluded from the telephone evaluation due to a low number of responses.
Overall, the Make it Safe campaign has succeeded in distributing leaflets and cleats across Fife, South Lanarkshire, Scottish Borders and, to an extent, across East Dunbartonshire. This has in effect made homes safer and recipients have been educated on the dangers of looped cords.
Click here to read the 2011 Make it Safe report (PDF 252kb)
June - December 2010
A pilot project in North Lanarkshire aimed to raise awareness about the possible dangers of blind cords. Running from June to December, the Scottish Government-funded pilot distributed Make it Safe packs to families with young children.
Make it Safe leaflets were distributed together with cleats, which are used to secure blind cords out of the reach of young children. The distribution of these resources was undertaken by Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service, North Lanarkshire Council's home safety officer, and the council's Safer Homes project, which was delivered locally by the Wise Group.
60 per cent of the parents and carers who participated in the North Lanarkshire pilot project said they were now unlikely to buy any blinds with looped cords because their knowledge of the dangers had increased. And 69 per cent said they had gone on to discuss the risk of blind cords with other parents or carers.
The campaign's aim was to provide information about the dangers of looped blind cords to families, empowering them to make informed decisions about buying blinds with looped cords. It also aimed to help families change their current practices with existing blinds with looped cords.
The final report is available to view online.
Margaret Caldwell, a public health nurse from Fife, wrote an article for Community Practitioner. In it, she highlighted that a risk assessment in a local health centre had identified the danger of looped blind cords in such public places.
The alert was issued on July 8 and distributed by Department of Health (England and Wales, Health Facilities Scotland and the DHSS and PS (NI). It had four action points which include risk assessments and taking action to modify and/or secure the looped cords. The action points were completed by October 4, 2010.
Download the Estates and Facilities Alert.