Research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) shows that there have been at least 30 deaths across the UK due to looped cords since 1999 (17 of which have occurred since the start of 2010).
The Make It Safe campaign, which RoSPA is backing, aims to raise awareness of the potential dangers of looped cords among families with small children.
Most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom and occur in children between 16 months and 36 months old, with more than half happening at around 23 months. These toddlers are mobile, but their heads still weigh proportionately more than their bodies compared to adults and their muscular control is not yet fully developed, which makes it harder for them to free themselves if they become entangled. In addition, toddlers' windpipes have not yet fully developed and they suffocate far more quickly.
To reduce the risk posed by looped cords, including blind cords, cords should be kept out of the reach of children.
Make it safe!
- Install blinds that do not have a cord, particularly in a child's bedroom;
- Do not place a child's cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window;
- 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 hang toys or objects that could be a hazard on the cot or bed; and
- Don't 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. 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.
You can read more blind cord safety advice and download leaflets from RoSPA here.