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, after new research revealed many rented homes still have older, riskier blinds.
The survey reveals 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 new safety standards were introduced in an effort to prevent death and serious injury from cord accidents. The 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.
RoSPA public health adviser Ashley Martin said: “They may look harmless, but to a young child looped cords can be deadly if they get them caught around their neck.
“The new standards introduced in 2014 only apply to the manufacture and fitting of blind cords, meaning those fitted before that date are unlikely to be safe by design, or to have been supplied with safety devices.
“We urge landlords, especially those with homes with children, to remove looped cords – particularly from children’s bedrooms – and have new blinds fitted. If this is not possible there are cheap or free safety devices which can be fitted, such as cleats, which enable the blinds to be tied up.”
RoSPA’s blind cord safety tips:
- 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