Each year RoSPA hears about one or two children being strangled in the UK when they get caught in the cords of window blinds or other window coverings.
RoSPA recommends that when buying new blinds, you choose ones that do not have a looped blind cord, particularly for use in a child’s bedroom.
However, if you are unable to find blinds without a blind cord or chain, or you already have blinds with looped cords installed, the following advice should be heeded:
• Reconsider the situation - do you really need to fit a blind?
• 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 that are available
• Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window.
It is important to remember that this type of accident does not just involve blinds or curtains - other factors can come into play too, so:
• Do not hang drawstring bags where a small child could get their head through the loop of the drawstring
• Do not hang toys, or objects that could be a hazard, on the cot or bed
• Remember, the supervision of young children is a crucial way of preventing accidents involving them.
RoSPA does not recommend that cords are cut, even as a short-term solution. 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.
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.
Think about whether you need to fit blinds at all in children's bedrooms.