New rules to protect children from blind cords
NEW European guidelines to protect children from window blind cords have been introduced – but campaigners warn that over one million older window blinds still pose a potentially lethal risk to youngsters.
Irish campaigner Aaron O'Connell, a former window blind fitter from Co Cork, was heavily involved in drawing up the new European guidelines, having previously drawn up the Irish national guidelines.
However, Mr O'Connell warned that while the guidelines will ensure the safety of window blinds in the future, he believes there are easily over one million older blinds out there that are potentially dangerous.
In the US, four children have died in the past month alone after becoming entangled in blind cords.
Mr O'Connell's warning was backed by the National Safety Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) which said that though the three new European Standards have been introduced, loop cords and chains on window blinds pose a strangulation risk for young children.
He also reminded that there had been a number of tragic accidents involving children in Ireland in recent years.
The three new standards relate to the performance and safety requirements of internal blinds, the protection from strangulation hazards and also requirements for safety devices used to secure window blind cords.
The NSAI advised parents of some simple steps that can be taken to prevent accidents.
They said cords ending in a loop are particularly risky. If possible, cut the cord to get rid of the loop and install tassels; cords should end at least 1.6m above the ground so children cannot reach them; replace cords with curtain or blind wands or where cords cannot be cut, a tie-down or tension device should be used to pull the cord tight and secure it to the floor or wall.
They also warned that a child's cot, bed, play pen or high chair should never be placed near a window or patio door where a child could reach a curtain or blind cord.
While sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases should be kept away from windows to prevent children climbing up and reaching curtain or blind cords.