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It takes only seconds for a toddler to lose their life on a blind cord – make your home safe!
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is proactively working to create awareness around blind safety in an effort to prevent accidental deaths from blind cords.
There have been at least 33 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 can take less than a minute for a child to lose their life on one window cord. Children aged between 16 and 36 months are most at risk.
In 2014 stringent new standards governing the manufacture, supply and installation of new internal window blinds came into effect with the aim of reducing child accidents. These changes place an obligation on all in the industry to supply and install compliant products.
As a result, all blinds placed on the market now have to display warning labels placed on the front of blinds as well as on packaging. They must include safety instructions, in addition to safety devices to ensure blind cords are kept out of the reach of young children.
The Standard also imposes a maximum cord and chain length where there is a likelihood of young children 0-42 months present which includes homes and public places like hotels, hospitals, schools, shops, places of worship and nurseries.
To reduce the risk of an accident in the home, these simple steps can be taken by parents, relatives and carers:
- Examine every blind. If they have a looped control chain or cord and do not have a safety device fitted, then you can easily install one of the safety devices available
- Ensure that all operating blind cords and chains are kept out of children’s reach
- Ensure cots, beds and any furniture are kept away from windows and blinds – remember children love to climb
- When buying a new blind, always look for one that does not contain cords, has concealed cords or has an in-built safety device and that complies with the 2014 European Standards
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Home Safety Officers are on hand to highlight the dangers associated with blind cords. Officers can carry out visits in homes of children aged under 5, and provide advice on issues around home safety, security and energy efficiency.
You can apply for a home safety check by clicking here or alternatively you can register your details by contacting the Environmental Health Department on 0300 303 1777
New parents can also pick up blind cord safety devices from the Registrar when they register the birth of their baby.
For more information about making your home a safe environment, please visit www.nidirect.gov.uk.