In 2014 the government announced new standards for the manufacture and fitting of blinds, which have led to improved product safety. New blinds with looped cords must have child safety devices installed or sold with the blind.
However, the change in regulation is not retroactive. This means that young children in thousands, if not millions of homes where blinds were fitted more than five years ago are in danger of strangulation. A survey of parents and grandparents conducted on behalf of RoSPA revealed that children living in rented accommodation are also at risk.
This research indicated that thousands of rented homes across the country may have potentially-deadly blind cords – even in kids’ bedrooms.
Of local authority-rented homes which have blinds in the child’s bedroom, two in five (39 per cent) were fitted more than five years ago, before the new safety standards were introduced. This figure stands at 27 per cent for private landlords, and 19 per cent for housing associations/trusts.
RoSPA is aware of 33 child deaths due to blind cords since 2001.
Worryingly, more than one third of private-rented (34 per cent) and housing association/trust-rented (36 per cent) homes do not have safety mechanisms fitted on their blinds. This figure is 26 per cent for local authority-rented properties.
These statistics reveal the potential for deep suffering. The cost of inattention to safety regulations is all too clearly demonstrated in the heart-wrenching story of Macy, a toddler from Oldham, who died after being caught in a blind cord loop. Macy lived with her mum in privately-rented accommodation where the blinds had been installed pre-2014. The landlord claimed to be unaware of the new, child-safe blind cords
To help avoid further tragedies, RoSPA is calling on all landlords, including local authorities, to do more to ensure their homes are free from the dangers posed to children by blind cords, by ensuring that they have new blinds fitted, or remove lopped cords from their homes altogether.
RoSPA’s blind cord safety tips for parents and homeowners:
Install blinds that do not have a looped cord, particularly in a child's bedroom
Cords on blinds (and also curtains) that are elsewhere in the home should be kept short and out of reach of children – 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
Do not hang toys or objects that could be a hazard on a cot or bed
Do not hang drawstring bags where a small child could get their head through the loop of the drawstring
RoSPA does not recommend that cords are cut, even as a short-term solution, because they could actually become more dangerous.
For more blind cord safety advice and resources, see www.rospa.com/blindcords
Ashley Martin, public health adviser
Posted: 10/9/2019 10:42:04 AM