We typically hear about one or two children dying after becoming entangled in blind cords in the UK each year and there are many more near misses.
The danger for young children is that a loop which hangs at waist height for an adult could slip around the neck of a young child if he or she falls or, if the loop is at floor level, it could become wrapped around the neck of a baby who is crawling.
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 (over half) happens 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, their windpipes have not yet fully developed and are smaller and less rigid than adults and older children, making them suffocate more quickly if their necks are constricted.
There have also been cases in which babies have been accidentally strangled by cord loops hanging into their cots. Where there are young children present in the home, our advice is to tie looped blind cords up out of the reach of young children.
It is advisable that any action taken on the blind cord is a permanent one which will take the cord out of reach of children. It is not an expensive task and cleats - small plastic devices that are fitted to the side of the window for the operating cord to be wrapped around - are available from blind retailers and DIY outlets.
RoSPA does not recommend that cords are cut, even as a short-term solution. Cutting the cord in the wrong place can make the blind inoperable; and it may also lead to one cord becoming a lot longer which increases the risk of entanglement. Cut cords can also become tangled up resulting in the reformation of a loop.
The supervision of young children also plays a vital part in reducing the likelihood of accidents happening.