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Child safety policy

A picture of a child reaching for a box of matches.

Blind cords

RoSPA has welcomed a major development in its campaign to stop window blinds posing a risk to the lives of young children and is pleased to announce that the new EN13120:2009+A1:2014, released in February 2014, strengthens the child safety elements of the standard.

The new standard amends a previous European standard published in 2009. The amendment considerably extends the standard scope so that it covers not only venetian blinds, roller blinds, vertical blinds and pleated blinds, but also honeycomb blinds, Roman shades, Austrian/Festoon blinds, panel blinds, plantation shutters and roll-up blinds.

It requires that new blinds must be "safe by design" or be supplied with the appropriate child safety devices installed. This means that:

  • where there is a loop present in a blind it will be fitted during manufacture with a safety device that will break under pressure
  • safety devices will also be supplied to secure the cord to a wall.

The standard also imposes a maximum cord and chain length. All blinds must also continue to carry safety warnings. The main standard is supported by two additional standards: EN 16433:2014 and EN 16434:2014 which relate to testing requirements.

Though these standards aim to make new blinds much safer, many homes are still fitted with blinds that will not incorporate these safety requirements. RoSPA recommends that it is still important to raise awareness among parents, grandparents and carers to ensure that looped blind cords are kept out of the reach of children.

Baby walkers

RoSPA actively discourages the use of baby walkers because of the high number of accidents associated with their use and the lack of any evidence that they assist a baby's development.

While baby walkers continue to be marketed, RoSPA supports the requirement that they must satisfy all aspects of the British Standard as a minimum requirement.

NB The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) called for a ban on baby walkers at their annual conference 2000. Physiotherapists blame baby walkers for 4000 injuries per year and also claim that baby walkers disrupt the ability of children to develop walking and visual skills and stop them from properly exploring their surroundings.

Bunk beds

RoSPA recommends that children under the age of six years do not use the upper bunk 1. Parents should also consider very carefully whether allowing a child younger than six to sleep on the bottom bunk is safe for them, toddlers can get trapped. Babies should always have their own cots.

NB Most accidents involving bunk beds occur when children are playing on them. Children should be encouraged not to play on bunk beds.

Sleeping arrangements for small babies

RoSPA recommends that babies under 6 months old never sleep in the same bed as an adult. It is possible for a sleeping adult to smother and suffocate a tiny baby without realizing.

NB The risk if an adult smothering a baby reduces with the increased age of the child.


1 BS EN 747 British Standard Specification for Bunk Beds, British Standards Institution 1988

RoSPA's Child Home Safety Advice and Information.

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