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Blind cord strangling – campaign to keep children safe

Tuesday 5th November 2019

Parents and other responsible adults in the UK are being urged to fit safety devices to their old window blinds to stop children becoming entangled in dangerous blind cords and chains.

The move comes amid fears that there are millions of unsafe blinds still in homes across the UK, blinds that had been bought and fitted before standards were changed in 2014. Such old blinds may be neither ‘safe by design’ nor have been fitted with appropriate child safety devices.

It’s advice that is part of a new campaign launched by the Government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to raise public awareness of the dangers of unsecured looped blind cords to very young children and to show simple ways to make them safer.

The campaign challenges parents, childcare providers, children’s charities, community groups and employers: Are your blinds safe?

They are also being encouraged to:

  • secure cords and chains out of reach with a suitable safety device such as a tidy, tensioner or cleat fixed to an adjacent surface
  • move furniture and children’s beds, cots, highchairs and playpens away from windows

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ research shows that in the last nine years, on average two deaths have occurred in the UK every year due to young children being strangled on window blind cords or chains. https://www.rospa.com/campaigns-fundraising/current/blind-cord/

The campaign’s advice doesn’t just apply to parents, but to other carers such as grandparents and friends of the family who may have potentially dangerous blinds in their home.

Anyone with looped blind cords in their home or workplace needs to understand that they are dangerous to young children. Consumers and employers alike must take steps to make sure that their blinds are safe.

Further advice on blind safety devices include:

  • cords can be wound in a figure of eight around a special hook called a cleat. Cleats should be positioned out of children’s reach on an adjacent surface at least 1.5 metres from the floor
  • tidies and tensioners should be firmly fixed to an adjoining surface so that the cord or chain are permanently held tight. Cords should be fastened up in a figure of eight after every use of the blind, making sure that all the spare cord is secured on the cleat

If you need to fit a cleat or chain tensioner, further information on this is available on the British Blind and Shutter Association’s (BBSA) website www.bbsa.org.uk. The site shows you how to fit these safety devices and lists the address of local BBSA members who should be able to supply or fit them.

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