Blind Safety in Northern Ireland

It takes only seconds for a toddler to lose their life on a blind cord – make your home safe!

Bind cord safety film

The dangers associated with blind cords are being highlighted in a video being launched today [Tuesday 6 December] by the Public Health Agency (PHA), in association with local councils in Northern Ireland, to encourage everyone to make their home blind cord safe.

Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, said: “Home accidents can easily be prevented by being aware of the dangers and hazards that are present in the home environment and putting in place interventions to minimise the risks.

“Internal window blinds can pose a big risk to children between the ages of 16 months and 36 months. In Northern Ireland there have been three blind cord deaths in the past three years and at least 31 children have died in the UK since 1999.

“The video aims to highlight the dangers of looped blind cords and look at ways in which blind cord injuries and deaths can be reduced.

“We would say to all adults, go around your home and:

  • 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 many devices available;
  • ensure that all operating blind cords and chains cannot be reached by children;
  • move cots, beds and any furniture 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 new European Standards.”

Dr McBride continued: “New blinds are covered by improved European safety legislation that came into force in 2014, meaning they have been rigorously tested and if appropriate would have a chain break connector where the chain will break if any pressure is applied. However many homes have blinds fitted before this so it is important to check them all.”

Mary Black, Assistant Director of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement with the PHA, said: “It is impossible to watch over our children 24 hours a day, so it is essential that we take time to make the home environment as safe as possible.

“As the video highlights, it can take as little as seconds for a toddler to lose their life after becoming entangled in a window blind cord or chain. Simple steps – such as securing cords and chains with safety devices and keeping furniture away from windows so that children cannot climb on them – can help prevent deaths. It is important that parents, relatives and carers check their homes and proactively take steps to make sure that children are kept safe.

“Don’t leave it until it is too late – taking simple steps to make our homes safer for children is the best way to help prevent accidents,” concluded Mary.

Marcus Potts, Chair of Environmental Health NI at Ards and North Down Council, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Public Health Agency to raise awareness of blind cord safety. The death of young children as a result of entanglement in looped blind cords is a particularly distressing type of accident. Joint effort is needed to ensure that looped blind cords are kept out of the reach of children.”

To view the video visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/blind-cord-safety

For further advice on how to make your home blind cord safe, contact the home safety officer at your local council or your health visitor.

Source: publichealth.hscni.net

For further information on Blind Safety visit Cordaway, the cord safety device that works.

Toddler dies after tangling herself in grandparents’ blind cord while parents are at the theatre

A 16-month-old girl has died after she strangled herself in a window blind cord while playing with a toy vacuum cleaner at her grandparents’ home.

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Bronwyn Taylor was in the conservatory when she got her neck caught inside a beaded cord loop and fell over.

The toddler was found by her grandmother, 66-year-old retired nurse Shirley Taylor, who desperately tried to resuscitate her.

Ambulance crews were called to the house in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, after receiving a 999 call at 3.30pm on Saturday and took the girl to hospital.”The light in the middle of our family has gone out. Bronwyn was so precious and had her whole life ahead of her” – Cathy Taylor

However, Bronwyn suffered a cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead when she arrived at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Bronwyn was being looked after by her grandparents while her parents went to the theatre with their two elder children to watch the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Her parents Matthew, 40, and 42-year-old Cathy urged families to install safety devices to all curtain cords to prevent similar tragedies.

Mr Taylor, who runs a heating engineering firm with his wife in Basford, Staffordshire, said: “Our whole world has been blown apart. Parents should never have to bury their child.

“My mum and dad have been blaming themselves but we don’t blame them. It was a freak accident. We are all devastated.

“She was adored by everyone. So many people would come over to her wherever we were and say hello. Bronwyn was a little star. But then reality hits me and I realise she is never coming back.

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“The boys shouldn’t have had to go through this, but they’ve been fantastic and they wanted to see her. They have been absolute troopers.

“When I saw her at the hospital I looked at her, stroked her head and gave her a little kiss. I placed my hand on her head in the hope I had some power to wake her up but nothing happened.

“We sat and cuddled her for three or four hours and friends and family members arrived and gave her a cuddle too. Everyone has been ripped apart by this.”

Brownwyn was being looked after by her grandparents, Barry and Shirley, on Saturday along with Matthew’s 16-year-old son Boden, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Matthew and Cathy took their other two sons, Dylan, 10, and Owen, 10, who are from different relationships, to the theatre to watch the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Mr Taylor added: “Bronwyn had been playing on the slide in the garden and went into the conservatory to play with a little toy hoover.

“We don’t know exactly what happened but somehow she got the blinds, which were on a shelf above the floor, wrapped around her neck. Either the blind cord came down or Bronwyn reached up and knocked it down, we just don’t know.

“My mum was probably looking after Boden and had her back turned for a matter of minutes. It was an accident but we are so keen to warn other people of the dangers.

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“If anything can come out of this it must be to warn other people to put safety catches on their blinds. We just want something to come from this.

“We can’t let what happened to be in vain. Life is so precious and people must make sure their surroundings are safe as best they can.

“But it is not just about blinds, it could happen with anything. People must make sure everything is child-proof as much as they can.

“If they have old blinds they must double check the cords are tied away or replace them with safety blinds.”

As a result of the tragedy, Bronwyn’s grandfather Barry, a retired printer, collapsed in shock and is being treated in hospital.

The family, who also lost a baby girl Megan last year who was stillborn, were told of the tragedy when police officers met them at the theatre on Saturday afternoon.

Mrs Taylor said: “The light in the middle of our family has gone out. Bronwyn was so precious and had her whole life ahead of her.

“She was a perfectly healthy and beautiful little girl and her life has been taken away from her.

“I was looking forward to watching all the Disney films with her, dress her up like a princess and do her hair. That’s gone because of a stupid little accident.”

Staffordshire Police are preparing a report into Bronwyn’s death for North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith.

The Dangers Of Blind Cords – A scary silent killer

At Cordaway we believe child safety is of paramount importance. Here we have a young mum explain her perceptions with regard to exposed blind cords.

In hundreds of thousands of homes across Australia there are still exposed blind cords on Venetian, Roman and Plantation blinds. Please be aware of the very real danger these cords pose to toddlers and young children.

Cordaway offers a safe, sure and sensible way to ensure this danger is removed. We expect to be able to provide product in the very near future. Until then stay tuned here for details or visit cordaway.com.au for updates.

Danger of Blind Cords

Being a 30-something-year-old first-time Mum and living in the same older style home for the past ten years, let’s just say my house was far from toddler proof.

Recently, I went through the ever growing list of what my husband and I still needed to kid proof around the house. Securing the blind cords to the wall was on the list. My husband didn’t see the urgency of this task given our son has only just turned one and is not yet walking. I tended to agree because there were other priorities on the list.

I had previously mentioned to my husband of the potential strangulation dangers of blind cords to young children (believe it or not all the way up to the age of ten), but when I read the statistics surrounding deaths from blind cords in Australia, I was astounded.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), between one and two children die in Australian homes every year as a result of non-compliant corded blinds and curtains. Most of these deaths occur in children under the age of three.

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Deaths involving blind cords occur when the loop of the cord wraps around a child’s neck, normally, when they are sleeping near or playing around looped blind cords. Children have also been known to be strangled by blind cords when standing on chairs looking out windows.

The ACCC recommends parents and carers follow four simple steps to make blind cords safer around children:

  • Check the cords;
  • Secure cords out of reach of children;
  • Choose safe blinds and curtains that meet national mandatory standards;and
  • Keep children away from blind and curtain cords

It’s also important that parents and carers consider blind and curtain cord safety when away from the home, particularly when visiting friends or while on holiday.

Australia has strict national mandatory standards when it comes to blind and curtain cord safety.

In September 2013, the ACCC took legal action against a hardware supplier for selling nearly 4,000 sets of indoor roman blinds that did not meet the national standards.

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The blinds did not contain the required safety message to be featured on external packaging warning customers of the dangers of strangulation if the product is not installed according to instructions. The item has since been recalled and a number of measures have been put in place to prevent similar products from being sold that do not meet the national standards.

It’s very easy to get caught up in life, become complacent and have the attitude that ‘it won’t happen to us’ when it comes to blind cord safety.

It is important to remember that young children don’t understand how dangerous it is to loop a cord around their neck or just how quickly they can become entangled in the cord. By following the four simple steps outlined by the ACCC, this will help to prevent numerous unnecessary deaths among young children in Australia.

After reading these shocking statistics and realising just how quickly and easily a child can be strangled by blind cords, this task has now become an urgent priority on my toddler proofing list. Guess what my husband is doing the second he gets home from work?

Sources:

ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)

Blinds and curtains

Recalled products

News

Article