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.
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.
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?