Google+ Authentic Parenting: Blind Cord Strangulation: A Preventable Tragedy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Blind Cord Strangulation: A Preventable Tragedy

Even though technology and awareness around blind cord strangulation has increased and improved dramatically in the last century, it is still incredibly sad to see blind cord related deaths still hitting the headlines around the world.

As a father, the news never sits well in my stomach, knowing that in most cases these accidents could have been prevented. Blind cord strangulation deaths are fairly infrequent throughout the world; there have been 359 window cord related deaths in the USA over a 14 year period and 27 deaths across the UK since 1999 (14 of which have occurred since the start of 2010). It seems that global blind cord deaths statistics are non-existent, further highlighting charities concerns that cord strangulations could be more common in non-western territories that initially predicted.

Research indicates that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom and occur in children between 16 months and 36 months old, with the majority (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 them more prone to be unable to free themselves if they become entangled.

It is also important to note that toddlers’ windpipes have not yet fully developed and are smaller and less rigid than those of adults and older children. This means that they suffocate far more quickly if their necks are constricted. Research also undertaken in the US suggests that only one in ten households where children live or visit have safety devices installed.

Loosely hanging blinds cords will continue to be a danger to children unless parents are educated on the dangers they pose to a child, and are provided with the tools/understanding to eradicate the problem. Luckily all parents need to do is invest in a blind cord safety clip – simple right?

Blind tiebacks/clips/cleats can come in all shapes and sizes; they all depend on the type of blind and cord you have installed in your home. In Europe, manufactures and suppliers are now required by the European Standard (EN13120) to provide safety devices for looped blind cords.
Even though manufactures and suppliers have backed the regulation before it was implemented, households still do not frequently replace their window coverings – leaving a considerable amount of blinds with tieback. So it is up to the parents to go out and find the clips they need to protect their children. Some organisations, charities and businesses give away free blind cord safety clips and general advice on blind cord and curtain pole safety. Parents can also take further steps to protecting their children by considering the following:

  • Never place a child’s bed near a window
  • Never have furniture nearby windows if it can be scaled by a child.
  • Never leave objects/toys on a windowsill as it will encourage them to climb and stretch for the objects.
  • Never leave cords unclipped
  • Follow the manufacturer’s installation guide and use instructions when installing window blinds.
  • Regularly check that fittings are secure and attached

The Blind and Shutter Association has a fantastic educational video should you want to find out more information on how to keep your blinds safe:

Further information on how you can make blind cords safe and information on how to install them can be found on the following blind cord safety infographic:

Personally I see it as everyone’s responsibility to protect their children and pass on the information to their friends, families and neighbours. There are thousands other campaigns and charities dedicated to saving the lives of children, if we all helped to eradicate the problem once and for all we would have more time, money and effort to spend on other more widespread issuses.

About the author:
Karl is a father, blogger, sportsman and Marketing and Advertising Management Graduate .



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