Babies and children * First aid

Blind cords still cause child deaths

venetan blinds Accident prevention tips

Blinds should be redesigned "as a matter of urgency," to prevent children being accidentally strangled by their cords, a consultant paediatrician has said.

Writing to-day in the British Medical Journal, Dr Mahesh Masand of Dr Grays Hospital in Elgin, Scotland, described the day when a 22-month-old girl was rushed to A&E after her mother found the toddler hanging from the looped cord of a Venetian blind in her bedroom.

The girl was kept on a ventilator for three days and discharged without complications after seven days.

Fortunately for the girl, her mother discovered her when she was probably seconds away from suffocating to death, Dr Masand said.

"Survival after hanging injury in childhood is uncommon due to lack of adult presence at the time of hanging … the focus hence needs to be placed on attempting to prevent the hanging from occurring in the first place.

"One cannot stop all accidents happening but at least can limit the chance of their happening. "There should be a safer way of raising a blind than using a looped cord."

The doctor is calling on industry to redesign their products as a matter of urgency.

He says at least 11 Australian children have been accidentally strangled by blind or curtain cords since 2000 and refers to a claim by an advisor from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents who said "one or two children die each year in the UK in this way."

He also suggested that parents carry out their own safety measures, such as shortening or removing loops, installing tie-down devices that keep loops taut against walls, keeping cords out of reach of children, using a cord tensioning device or cord pulley on walls, and eliminating climbing hazards by moving furniture, including cots, beds, and high chairs, away from windows with looped curtain or blind cords.

This article was published on Wed 30 June 2010

Image © Scott McCarty -

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