Tragic deaths highlight blind cord danger

Published: 
15 Mar 2010

Parents need to remain vigilant about the dangers of blind cords, according to Minister for Fair Trading Peter Lawlor.

Two children in the United Kingdom have died in the past fortnight after becoming entangled in blind cords.

“These terrible tragedies highlight the need for parents and caregivers to be alert to the dangers posed by hanging blind and curtain cords that can create a loop that small children can hang themselves in,” Mr Lawlor said.

“13 children have died in Australia after being strangled by cords since 2000.

“In the United States, more than 170 children have died from injuries associated with curtain and blind cords since 1991.

“The good news is that parents can do one simple thing to help prevent these tragedies.”

Mr Lawlor said the Office of Fair Trading launched a 12 month consumer education campaign last year, supported by the blind and curtain industry, to raise awareness about the dangers of hanging cords.

“As part of this campaign we are giving away free safety toggles to help parents and carers reduce the risk of hanging cords in their homes,” Mr Lawlor.

“These devices enable any looped cords to break apart when pressure is applied, which removes the strangulation threat to young children.

“Queenslanders can order their free safety toggles online by visiting www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or by calling 13 13 04.

“People need to be aware that window covering cords should hang no lower than 1.6 metres from the ground, and should be tied up against a wall using hooks or cleats.”

Mr Lawlor said while the Queensland Government introduced strict mandatory safety standards governing window covering cords in 2006, products older than this would still pose a danger.

“Realistically, there would be millions of unsafe blinds in consumers’ homes that remain a serious risk to young children,” he said.

“We are encouraging parents, and anyone else who has young children visit their homes, to take all necessary precautions.”

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Minister’s office contact: (07) 3225 1005

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