Parents Urged to Check for Killer Blinds in Their Homes

I was horrified to hear that 12 children have been strangled by blinds in the last 9 years including a 13 month old last year. Read on to get the 7 step safety process and how you can make sure your property is safe. Lets protect our children!!

Minister for Fair Trading Peter Lawlor is urging parents to check their window blinds and curtains to ensure they are safe for children. “Blind cords are a hidden hazard in the home and most people would not be aware of the dangers,” Mr Lawlor said. “In Queensland there are strict mandatory safety standards for window covering cords to minimise the risk of children becoming strangled. “However, as these standards were introduced in 2006 there would be hundreds of thousands of potentially unsafe blinds still in people’s homes. “The problem with looped window covering cords that hang loosely near the floor is that small children can become tangled in the loop created by the cord and be strangled.

“Since 1991, more than 170 children have died from injuries associated with curtain and blind cords in the United States. “In Australia at least 12 children have been accidentally strangled by blind cords in the past nine years.

Minister Lawlor today launched an Office of Fair Trading campaign to raise awareness of the danger posed by blind cords and advised consumers what they can do to make them safer in the home. As part of the initiative, the Office of Fair Trading is giving away 10,000 free safety toggles which will enable parents and carers to prevent cords from being a safety risk. “Since 2006 all window coverings that use looped cords must meet strict safety requirements before they can be supplied in Queensland,” he said. “The standard prohibits the supply of window coverings with hazardous looped cords, looped bead chains or other flexible looped devices which are a known strangulation hazard to small children. Industry has done a good job in developing safer products for which it needs to be commended.

“However consumers need to be aware of the dangers from blind cords that were supplied and installed prior to the introduction of the mandatory standard.”

The warning follows an inquest in South Australia last year into the tragic death of a 13-month-old toddler in March 2007. “A South Australian Coroner found that curtain cords were recognised as a serious safety risk when children’s cots were placed near windows, creating a potential strangulation risk,” Mr Lawlor said.

Mr Lawlor said consumers should follow the seven safety steps rule to prevent injuries from blind cords:

  • do not tie cords together as it creates a loop where children can become entangled;
  • do not put beds, cots, playpens and other furniture near blind and curtain cords
  • cut looped cords short, they should be 1.6 metres above the ground
  • consider replacing cords with a wand
  • consider buying a device to wrap long cords around or tie down cords to a hook or a cleat at least 1.6.m from the ground
  • ensure all safety information is read, particularly if the blinds were packaged
  • always install the safety devices included.

For further information about consumer rights and responsibilities or to get your free safety toggles, visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au (the source of this information) or phone 13 13 04.

From 21 July 2009, the Office of Fair Trading will be giving away free safety tassels to Queenslanders to fit to existing looped cords on window coverings (blinds and curtains).

The safety tassel is a simple, easy to install device that can reduce the risk of childhood strangulation. The safety tassel will split when pressure is applied, so the cord no longer acts as a loop.

To get your free safety tassels go to this link.

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