‘It is absolutely unfathomable that a tragedy like this could happen’: parents of dead toddler Eden issue plea

The devastated parents of a “sweet little girl” who died after becoming entangled in a blind cord in their Sydney home have pleaded for other parents to check their child’s cots for any signs of danger.

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The parents, who asked not to be identified, said they would always treasure the short time they shared with 15-month-old Eden, who was found in her cot choking on the cord at their Quakers Hill home on Tuesday evening.

Eden was taken to Westmead Children’s Hospital in a critical condition but died later that night.

Her death came just five days after a 16-month-old girl died in almost identical circumstances in Hornsby.

Eden’s grieving parents on Wednesday urged other parents to take action to prevent the heartache they now were experiencing.

“Words cannot express the absolute devastation we are feeling at the loss of our baby girl, Eden,” they said in a statement.

“It is absolutely unfathomable that a tragedy like this could happen … We encourage every parent to check their child’s cot for even the slightest danger.

“We will always treasure the short time we had with our sweet little girl. We are confident we will one day see Eden again.”

They also asked for privacy so they could come to terms with their terrible loss.

Police said they were called to the home on Hillcrest Avenue at Quakers Hill at 6.25pm on Tuesday after a child was found unconscious in her cot.

Paramedics and a CareFlight doctor worked to resuscitate Eden before taking her to Westmead Children’s Hospital.

Detectives from Quakers Hill Local Area Command are investigating the incident, but said initial investigations suggested the child became entangled in a blind cord.

Last Thursday, a 16-month-old girl in Hornsby died after becoming entangled in a cord while she slept in her cot.

And in August last year, 18-month-old Jack Mackay, from Mallabula, north of Newcastle, also died when he was caught up in blind cords.

KidSafe executive officer Christine Erksine said parents were not always aware of the dangers posed by blind cords.

“It’s just one of those horrible accidents that can happen,” Ms Erskine said. “It’s just something you wouldn’t be aware of.

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“One of the issues is in smaller rooms, there’s not much choice about where to put furniture, so you may put the cot against the window for light and space.

“We suggest that cots and bedding are away from a window. And you have blinds and cords that meet the new standards.”

In 2010, the government introduced mandatory standards for blinds, stating that manufacturers had to include a warning label about cords on the packaging and attached to the cord itself.

Blinds also have to now come with instructions on how to install cords to prevent child injuries.

At least 11 children died in Australia between 2001 and 2008 after being caught in blind cords, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said.

It recommends tying cords out of reach of children. The ACCC has put together an information sheet for parents on blind cord safety.

Source: smh.com.au

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To be Kid-Safe, it’s really simple. Fit a Cordaway Blind Cord Safety Device and ensure real safety for your family.

Toddler died in window blind cord tragedy just 45 minutes after being put to bed

Tianna Mooney, 18 months, is the latest child to die in a series of tragic incidents which have left a coroner ‘astounded’ at their frequency.

An 18-month-old girl died after becoming entangled in a window blind just 45 minutes after her parents had put her to bed.

Her inquest came just three months after another toddler from the same area of the country died in a similar tragedy.

Tianna Mooney had been put to bed as normal, but less than an hour later her mother, Stacey Clarke, found her unresponsive, with the window blind cord loop around her neck.

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Parents are now being warned about the dangers posed by window blind cords after Tianna’s death.
After ruling Tianna’s death in June last year was accidental, assistant coroner David James said he was ‘astounded’ to discover how many children have died in similar circumstances.

He said: “Tianna’s death was not an isolated death. I can’t say enough how important it is for parents, grandparents and carers of young children to ensure looped blind cords are kept out of the reach of children.

“This was an utter tragedy.”

The inquest at North Staffordshire Coroners’ Court heard Miss Clarke put Tianna to bed at her home in Basford, Staffs at around 7.30pm on June 16 last year.

The tot’s cot was by a window fitted with a vertical blind – which had some slats missing – and she would often stand and look out of the window before settling down to sleep.

The inquest heard Miss Clarke, who lived with Tianna and her older son, went upstairs 45 minutes later.

She described seeing Tianna ‘standing in her cot, with the cord around her neck’.

Miss Clarke picked up her daughter and ran outside calling for help.

One neighbour called an ambulance while another – a teacher – tried to resuscitate Tianna.
Paramedics quickly arrived but the toddler was pronounced dead in hospital.

Pathologists concluded Tianna died from ‘compression of the neck, consistent with hanging’.

The inquest comes three months after 16-month-old Bronwyn Taylor died when she became entangled in her grandparents’ window blinds in Fegg Hayes, in the same district of Staffs.

Her parents Matt and Cathy, from Basford, have since launched a campaign to raise awareness of hidden dangers in the home which will see thousands of leaflets distributed to new parents, as well as extended family members such as grandparents.

The leaflets will also be made available in libraries, nurseries, GP and dental surgeries.

Matt, 41, said: “It is tragic that this has happened to another little girl. There are lots of accidents happening every day, which is why we are campaigning and getting these leaflets out.”

The inquest heard current blind cord standards ensure new blinds are child-safe, but older blinds remain a danger in many homes.

During the inquest, Mr James said: “Although these standards are there now for new installations, many homes are still fitted with blinds that will not incorporate these requirements.

“Children of this age are prone not to being able to free themselves, and their windpipes are not fully developed, which means they suffocate.”

Source: mirror.co.uk

Tragedy, but now there is a solution with Cordaway.

In Australia the issue with exposed blind cords on Venetian Blinds, Roman Blinds and Plantation Blinds remains a very serious concern. The unfortunate fact is that young children are still being entangled in these devices resulting in deaths, injury and disability for life in some cases.

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Cordaway offers a simple but effective means of virtually neutralising this problem. Unlike other devices recommended, Cordaway completes its functionality by removing excess cord from reach and then providing a cover only an adult can reach and remove. It offers more space on which to wind the cord and does not leave any cord exposed below the device.

Cordaway is likely to go into production in the next month or so and will be available for purchase, both online and retail soon afterwards. Currently the Cordaway Group are developing partnerships within the Blind Industry with both manufacturers and with selected retailers to ensure this safety device is offered with all new blind purchases.

Stay tuned for more news on the Cordaway product and its availability.

Be diligent and be safe.

 

Obligations of landlords – corded internal window coverings

What types of internal window coverings are a safety hazard for children?

Blinds and curtains with loose cords or chains can strangle young children.

Since the early 1990s, at least 18 children have tragically died in Australia this way. A child can place a loop over their head or get tangled in loose cords or chains when:

  • sleeping in a cot or bed where cords or chains are hanging;
  • playing near cords or chains; or
  • standing on furniture (chair, sofa, bed, table etc.) or climbing using something like an overturned toy box/crate to look out of a window that has blind or curtain cords or chains.

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Do landlords have obligations to ensure internal window coverings are safe?

Yes. Product safety laws for internal window coverings have applied in Western Australia since January 2004, so landlords need to ensure blind/curtain cords and chains supplied after this date meet the national product safety requirements.

If blinds/curtains were bought before January 2004, landlords are strongly encouraged to ensure blind/curtain cords or chains on their rental premises are safe for children. Under common law, a landlord has a duty of care to tenants, as well as anyone the tenant invites into the property, and must ensure the premises are safe to live in. If a child dies or is injured on the rental premises as a result of a blind/curtain cord or chain injury, the landlord may be sued for negligence. Even if the tenants do not have children, a court could consider that it was reasonably foreseeable that the tenants may have children visiting the home from time to time.

How do I know if cords or chains are unsafe?

If a cord or chain for a blind or curtain hangs lower than 1.6m from the floor then it must be secured by a safety device.

Will I have to replace all my curtains and blinds?

No. Product safety laws have required that curtain/blind suppliers and shops provide window coverings with any necessary safety devices to secure loose cords or chains, installation instructions and a warning label and tag. If your blinds/curtains were supplied from January 2004 onwards then they should meet the product safety and installation standards.

However, if any blinds/curtains bought from January 2004 onwards are unsafe, alert your tenants, advise them to immediately tie the cords or chains out of reach and move away any furniture that children might climb on to reach the cords or chains. As soon as possible contact the supplier and Consumer Protection to discuss. If product safety standards were not met then the suppliers are required to rectify the work at no cost under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

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What if the blinds or curtains were bought before January 2004?

If blinds/curtains were bought before January 2004, it is strongly recommended that you alert your tenants, advise them to immediately tie any cords or chains so they are out of reach and move away any furniture children might climb on to reach the cords or chains. It is also recommended that you arrange to:

  • buy and install cleats or tensioning devices from a hardware store or curtain and blind shop and use at least two screws to fix them in place; or
  • cut the cords or chains to prevent them causing a loop if these are not essential to the working of the blind.

How can I make loose cords or chains safe?

You can buy safety devices from hardware stores or curtain and blind shops to secure loose cords and chains.

If a “cleat” is used (i.e. a device to wind the cord or chain around to keep it out of reach) then it must be secured at least 1.6m from the floor level because children can be capable of unwinding a cord or chain from a cleat. Another option is a tie down or tension device to pull a looped cord or chain tight and secure it to the wall or floor.

The safety device must be firmly secured with at least two screws (not double-sided tape or glue) to prevent a child from being able to remove the cord or chain.

If the cord or chain is not essential to the working of the blind, you may want to consider cutting it to 1.6m above the floor.

Cords or chains that hang 1.6m or more above the floor when fully extended do not need to be secured.

Curtains and blinds without cords or chains do not require safety devices.

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Are there any obligations on curtain and blind shops and other commercial suppliers of curtains and blinds to ensure they are safe?

Yes. Product safety laws have applied to suppliers in Western Australia since January 2004. The current Commonwealth product safety standard for suppliers requires that all looped cords or chains must:

  • have warning labels attached;
  • include installation instructions;
  • have safety devices designed to withstand a 7kg force applied for 10 seconds; and
  • prevent the possibility of a loop of 22 cm forming at a height less than 1.6m from the ground.

Fines may be issued if blinds are not supplied in accordance with the mandatory standard.

If traders do not supply blinds/curtains which meet the requirements of the product safety standard, they are required to meet their legal obligations under the ACL. Consumer Protection can take complaints about traders who do not follow the product safety standards.

Are there any obligations on commercial installers of curtains and blinds to ensure installation requirements are followed?

Yes. From 1 January 2015, commercial installers in Australia must follow the safe installation instructions and install blinds so that dangerous loops and loose cords or chains cannot be formed. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is working with businesses and industry groups to help them to understand and comply with the new requirements.

If traders do not follow the mandatory safety standards when installing blinds/curtains, they are required to rectify the work at no cost under the ACL. Consumer Protection can take complaints about installers who do not follow the product safety standards. Penalties apply for noncompliance.

What are the obligations of my property manager?

As a matter of best practice when inspecting properties, property managers are advised to check that all internal window coverings in a rental property are as safe as possible for children. Where a hazard exists, the tenants should be advised to secure loose cords or chains so they are out of reach of children and the owner should be advised that a more permanent solution is needed to ensure compliance with the mandatory standards.

What if my tenant asks for permission to install curtains or blinds?

In some circumstances, a tenant may ask for permission to install curtains or blinds in your rental premises. If you provide permission, it is advisable to inform the tenant in writing to install blinds/curtains as required by the national mandatory product safety standards. Alternatively, you may wish to specify that only curtains/blind without cords or chains should be installed.

How do I choose safe blinds and curtains?

All new blinds and curtains available in Australia must now comply with safety standards.

Source: commerce.wa.gov.au

Blind and curtain cord safety

Blind and curtain cords or chains are a significant risk to children, as unsecured cords can lead to strangulation. There are simple steps you can take when installing blinds or curtains and preparing a child’s sleep area to make sure it’s safe from these hazards.

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When you buy

Choose blinds and curtains with safe design features that:

  • have warning labels to remind you of dangers to children,
  • provide a way to secure cords/chains so there are no loops or strands that children can reach, or
  • operate without exposed cords/chains.

Installation

Product Safety Australia has produced an installation guide to explain how either a cleat or a cord guide can be installed to keep loose cords secure.

  • When installing new blinds and curtains, make sure you or the installer secures any loose or looped cords—do not leave them hanging down.
  • If possible, get rid of looped cords by cutting the cord and installing tassels.
  • Some blinds can’t operate properly without looped cords. To keep them out of children’s reach you should secure these cords with either:
    • tie-downs (cleats) 1600mm above the ground, or
    • tension devices that secure cords and chain loops, which cannot form a loop of more than 220mm.
  • You can get tie-downs and tension devices from hardware or window furnishing stores.
  • Always fix tie-downs and tension devices firmly to the wall or window-frame so a child is not able to remove it. Never use materials that can’t support a load, such as double-sided tape or glue.

Cordaway Window and Blind Cords Safety Device

Safety at home

  • Go through every room in your home and check for any blinds or curtains with long cords that are either loose or looped. Remember, this includes any cords within children’s reach at floor level or near furniture they can climb on.
  • Do not put children’s cots, beds, highchairs or playpens near a window where children can reach the blind or curtain cords. The cords can get around children’s necks and strangle them while they are playing or sleeping.
  • Do not place sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases near windows with corded blinds or curtains. Young children often like to climb onto furniture to look out the window. If they can reach the cords, they may quickly become entangled in them, lose their footing and suffer strangulation or serious injuries.
  • Make sure blind and curtain cords are not hanging anywhere within children’s reach. Loose cords can easily wrap around and strangle children who are jumping, playing or climbing nearby.
  • If you are living in a rental property, seek help from your landlord or agent to ensure cords and chains are out of reach as your landlord has an obligation to make them safe.
  • Always supervise children in any rooms with reachable blind or curtain cords. Accidental strangulation can happen very quickly, so never leave children alone in these rooms, even for a short while.
  • Also keep products with electrical cords, such as lamps and monitors, well away from babies’ cots.

Standards and legislation

mandatory standard for the installation services of window coverings was made into regulation as of 1 January 2015.

More information

More information is available from Product Safety Australia’s website on their cots and cords page.

Source: commerce.wa.gov.au

 

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To be Kid-Safe, it’s really simple. Fit a Cordaway Blind Cord Safety Device and ensure real safety for your family.