There are many child safety hazards in the everyday family home. Some are preventable only by paying strict attention to your children, others can be avoided by taking proper safety procedures. There is a lingering danger in the home that took the lives of six children in the UK and Ireland in 2010, as well as an average of two young lives a month in the United States.
So what is this household killer? Medications or cleaning products? Toys with ignored choking hazards? The answer will surprise you. It is the strangulation risk associated with cords on household window blinds.
Children Are Inquisitive & Curious
If children see something that peaks their curiosity, they usually want to play with it. For example, children see their parents use the cords of a blind to let light in and out of the room. Anxious to see how it works, they will then play with the blinds themselves, often getting tangled in the dangling cord.
Not only are the dangling cords hazardous, there have also been documented cases of children getting their necks caught in the internal cords that keep the blinds in the selected position.
You may be asking yourself why this issue has not been addressed by the blind companies. It has, and blind manufacturers have now created cheap and easy to fit solutions such as chain tensioners that can be used on new blinds, and retro fitted to existing blinds in order to address this safety risk. Other new developments include blinds with retractable cords, or cordless blinds which are available to consumers at a slightly higher price.
For families who cannot afford cordless blinds, there are other safety precautions that can be taken, and these are simple, cost-effective options.
The first is installing a cleat, or a cord/chain tidy. These devices are inexpensive and easy to install – all new blinds from Order Blinds are provided with a safety clip as standard. Cords should be fixed out of the reach of the child, and secured properly to an adjacent wall or part of the window frame. The device will clip the cord or chain securely in place. However, it is important to remember to secure the cord after each use of the blinds, depending on the design of the device.
What If You Rent?
For families who do not have the authority to make any alterations to their living environment, parents who are nervous they will forget to clip the cord into place after each use, and parents who are afraid the child will still be able to access the dangerous cord, even with a clip; there are devices called chain break connectors. These connectors will come apart when there is an unnecessary amount of strain or pressure put on the cord, such as the pressure or strain of a child inappropriately playing with them.
British Blind & Shutter Association (BBSA)
The BBSA has released a leaflet stating safety procedures that can be taken in preventing the unnecessary, negligent deaths of children by the cords on window blinds. The leaflet states that cords should be kept out of reach at all times with a device designed for such purposes. The BBSA leaflet also includes different styles of blinds a family can purchase that do not pose these safety risks.
The BBSA blind safety leaflet can be found on their website, www.BBSA.org.uk. Other information regarding window blind safety and finding a BBSA member to inspect the blinds in your home can be attained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, ultimately the prevention of accidents surrounding household items is in the hands of the child’s guardian(s). With the proper steps and measures being taken, accidents are far less likely to occur, with fewer tragedies claiming innocent, young lives.
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