Blinds For Your Home: Cord Safety

There have been at least 29 deaths of infants throughout the United Kingdom due to looped blind cords since 1999. So in response to this, in 2004, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) recommended that the blinds industry implements strategies in order to reduce the risk of blinds cords. This comes after a number of accidental deaths involving children between 16 and 36 months.

These days toddlers are mobile and can be strangled quietly and quickly by looped cords even when parents are in close proximity. Therefore it is important that cords are kept out of the reach of children. If they become entangled they find it very difficult to free themselves as their heads weigh proportionally more than their bodies, plus their windpipes have not yet fully developed so they can suffocate much more quickly than an adult if their windpipe is constricted.

The Importance of Safety Blinds

Because of these deaths new blinds must now be either “safe by design” or provided with the appropriate child safety devices. Therefore if a loop could be created with the blind cord then a safety device must be installed. In answer to this, blinds manufacturers have addressed safety issues in numerous ways.

One device is the break-apart tassel which splits open under stress. Another development is the single-cord control and the wand control, in which the loop design is eliminated. The definitive precaution is a motorised blind that has an automatic-stop feature.

Professional installers must fit these devices, but if fitting blinds yourself instructions must be followed and any safety devices fitted. All blinds must carry a safety warning and must have a maximum cord and chain length. Toddlers are active and inquisitive, therefore potential hazards should be put out of reach of children.