Statistics state that between one and two Australian children die each year from blind or curtain cords. There were at least 11 blind cord strangling deaths in Australia, between 2001 and 2008. Nine of those were children under the age of three. Already this year, two more families in Australia have lost children this way.
In the United States, Over the past 30 years, more than 339 children and/or persons have strangled to death on the cords of mini-blinds. In the United Kingdom, research shows that there have been at least 28 deaths across the UK due to looped cords over the past 15 years; 15 of these deaths have occurred since 2010.
Research indicates that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom and occur in children between 16 months and 36 months old, with the majority (more than half) happening at around 23 months.
Even though these toddlers are mobile, the problem is their head still weighs proportionately more than their bodies compared to adults. The toddlers’ muscular control is also not yet fully developed, which makes it hard to free themselves once entangled. In addition, toddlers’ windpipes have not yet fully developed and are smaller and less rigid than those of adults and older children. This means that they suffocate far more quickly if their necks are constricted. As with drowning, toddlers can be strangled quickly and quietly by looped cords.
To reduce the risk posed by looped cords, including blind cords, cords should be kept out of the reach of children.
In Australia, child health nurses may soon be responsible for checking blinds and curtains in the homes of new parents in a bid to prevent children strangling.
The mandatory standard in Australia for covering internal window coverings installation services was made on 28 March 2014. The regulation commences on 1 January 2015 – the new requirements do not apply until that date.
To prevent further deaths cord of blinds must not be left dangling as this is a choking hazard. These cords need to be out of reach of children and tied to a hook on the wall.