A Coroner has sent out a warning this week after a 16 month old girl died when she got caught in a window blind cord. The little girl got entangled while playing at her grandparents’ home. She died of a cardiac arrest.
Sadly this not the first accident from Blinds and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said it was ‘all too aware of the devastation’ looped blind cords can cause.
Although there is now a law to ensure that both the style and the lengths of blind cords conform to safety regulations there are still hundreds of thousands of homes across the country that have potentially dangerous cords.
The latest advice is to only fit blinds which have the cords fixed at the bottom as well as at the top, or don’t have cords that hang down at all.
So why are young children so much more vulnerable than older children from these accidents?
Research shows that many of the accidental deaths which involves 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.
This is because the 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.
In addition, 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.
We are all very aware that we cannot take our eyes off toddlers even for a few minutes. But then we are not invincible and there is always an unguarded moment. This latest tragic story could easily have been my story. When my son was a toddler — he is now 30 – his nanny had left him alone in the bedroom for a few minutes and when she returned she found him hanging from the blind cord. He had climbed on to the bed which was foolishly placed under the window and ……. I hate to think what might have happened had she not returned so quickly!
Keeping your toddlers safe from blind cords:
- Ensure that your blinds don’t have a cord, particularly in a child’s bedroom
- Don’t put your child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window
- Pull cords should be kept short and out of reach of children.
- Tie up the cords or use one of the many devices such as cleats, cord tidies, clips or ties that are available
- Make sure there are no hanging toys or objects over a child’s bed or cot.
- Don’t hang drawstring bags where a small child could get their head through the loop of the drawstring.
One mother’s story on Blind Safety:
Should the worst happen make sure you know how to resuscitate a baby or child. Click on the link below to watch a short video to show you how to perform both child and baby CPR.
For more information about Safe and Sound paediatric first aid courses go to: