Council issues warning on the dangers of blind cords

5th March 2021

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is proactively working to create awareness around blind cord safety in an effort to prevent accidental deaths from blind cords.

There have been more than 30 deaths across the UK due to looped cords since 1999, 18 of which have occurred since the start of 2010, however, these accidents are preventable.

Children can become entangled on hanging cords when playing, climbing or exploring near window blinds. It is estimated that it can take just 15 seconds for a toddler to lose consciousness and less than a minute for a child to lose their life on one window cord.

Changes to standards for blinds, introduced in 2014, have led to improved product safety. New blinds with looped cords must have child safety devices installed at the point of manufacture or sold with the blind. However, blinds installed earlier may not have these features and millions of households could be affected.

These simple steps can be taken by parents, relatives and carers, around the home to help make your home safer for your children and young visitors:

• Examine every blind and curtain. If they have a looped control chain or cord and do not have a safety device fitted, then you can fit a tidy, tensioner or a cleat

  • Tidies and tensioner should be firmly fixed to an adjoining surface to ensure that the cord or chain is permanently held tight.
  • Cleats should be positioned out of children’s reach on an adjacent surface that is at least 1.5 metres from the floor.
  • After blind use, cords should be fastened up in a figure of eight making sure all the spare cord is secured on the cleat.

• Ensure that all operating blind cords and chains are kept out of children’s reach.

• Children love to climb so keep furniture away from blinds. This includes cots, beds, highchairs and playpens,

• When buying a new blind, always look for one that does not contain cords, has concealed cords or has an in-built safety device

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Home Safety Officers are available to provide advice on the dangers associated with blind cords and on all aspects of home safety, and energy efficiency.

For further information or to seek advice on blind cord safety or indeed other aspects of home safety, please contact the team by telephone on 0300 303 1777 or email home.safety@fermanaghomagh.com.