Legislation covering blinds, or the cord/string that is used to operate them ai in the UK alone there has been at least 30 deaths due to looped blind cords since 1999 ( 18 of these have occurred since the start of 2010.) with the majority involving children aged 16-36 months plus a further 16 near misses.
Such incidents compelled the blind industry, backed by the RoSPA to take action in February 2014 to reduce risks of looped cords by exploring design modifications and raising awareness of the issue.
The typical scenario associated with death by blind cords often takes place within the home, most likely within the bedroom where the children being inquisitive beings they are becoming tangled in the cord.
A child’s head weighs proportionately more than their bodies compared to adults, and their muscular control is not yet fully developed, which makes them less likely to be able to free themselves if they become entangled in a cord. In addition, their windpipes have not yet fully developed and are smaller and less rigid than adults and older children meaning they suffocate more quickly if their necks and constricted.
These dangers led to an amendment of the European standard regulation of 2009 to a new standard that improves the child safety element of blinds. This campaign extended the standard scope of blinds to not only Venetian blinds, but roller, vertical and pleated but also honeycomb, Austrian/festoon, panel, roll-up, plantation shutters and roman shades.
The revised standards state that new blinds must be safe by design, or supplied with the appropriate child safety device installed, which means that where there is a loop that is present or could be created, a safety device must be installed at the point of manufacture. This safety features will either break under pressure, tension the cord or chain or provide the facility to store the cord out of the children reach. Usually, professional installers will fit the device but if you are looking at having the blinds fitted on behalf of a landlord a saftey device needs to be fitted. The standard also imposes a maximum cord or chain length and all blinds must continue to carry safety warnings. Manufacturers and retailers that do not comply with the standard could be prosectued .