Blind cords and child safety: what are the risks?

Shockingly, around two children every year are strangled to death after becoming entangled with the looped cord from a window blind.

It can take just 15 seconds for a toddler to lose consciousness if a blind cord is caught around their neck – and they can die in just two to three minutes.

Strangulation often happens in children’s bedrooms and living rooms, areas seen as safe. It happens quickly and silently – children don’t call out to warn carers they are in trouble. Read these stories to find out more.

Why are toddlers at greatest risk?

Toddlers and young children are at greatest risk of being killed by window blind pull cords. This is because:

  • Proportionally their heads weigh more than their bodies and their muscle control isn’t fully developed. This means it’s hard for them to free themselves if they’re caught in a blind cord.
  • A young child’s windpipe is narrow and soft so they can suffocate very quickly when their necks are constricted.
  • They can climb up onto furniture or a window sill but can struggle to steady themselves if they wobble.

How to make blind cords safe

  • Get into the habit of tying up your blind cord every time.
  • If your blind doesn’t have a safety device, do some quick DIY and fix one.
  • Move cots, beds, highchairs and playpens away from looped blind cords.
  • If there’s space, move other furniture away from looped blind cords too, as young children love to climb.

For peace of mind, consider buying blinds without cords or chains, particularly for children’s bedrooms.

If you have Roman blinds, check if the back is connected with a safety device that will break under pressure.

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