Window blinds cord warning

Warning about window blinds operated by looped, hanging cords.

Window blind.

Parents of toddlers and young children who have window blinds operated by looped, hanging cords should be aware of serious safety risks with these cords.

Free hanging cords can easily get wrapped around the necks of young children who can strangle very fast and very quietly. Parents may not have any idea of what has happened until it is too late.

In October 2011 the press reported one more death and one serious injury to children who had accidently strangled themselves with window blind cords. The child who died was 18 months old and had got his neck tangled in the blind cord in his bedroom after he woke up from an afternoon nap. The child who was seriously injured was 3 years old. She had climbed up on to her window sill while her parents thought she was asleep. Her brain was deprived of oxygen and she suffered brain damage. 

Three other children died in similar accidents in 2010 and a further 2 children died in 2009.

A change in the law

The law has since been changed and new window blinds manufactured since July 2011 should not have a dangerous looping cords or should be fitted with child resistant safety devices.

Unfortunately though, large numbers of old window blinds will still be in peoples’ homes up and down the country.

Oxfordshire Trading Standards is supporting the safety campaign of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) to alert families to this danger and to encourage them to take simple steps to remove this terrible risk.

Children can be at risk in any room in the house where there are blinds, but they are most at risk in their own bedrooms.

Make it safe

Steps you can take to help make your home safer include:

  • If you can afford to do so, replace old blinds with new ones which do not have looped cords or have concealed cords or have wall mounted cleats to stop the cords hanging down.
  • If you cannot replace your window blinds, you can contact ROSPA to ask for a free safety pack which you can use to make your window blinds safer.
  • Tie up long cords so they are short and out of childrens’ reach.
  • If your child’s bed, cot, highchair or playpen is close to a window move it well away.

More information from ROSPA

You can find out more useful information about the dangers of window binds cords and ways to protect your families at ROSPA’s website.

Last reviewed
13 December 2011
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