The danger posed to toddlers by an everyday fixture of many homes is being stressed by Croydon’s trading standards team following a tragic death.
Officers are telling parents and carers to be alert to the possibility of young children becoming caught up in curtain or window-blind cords if left alone, even for only a very short time.
And, in a bid to prevent similar accidents, the team is making available, free of charge, cleats – to which otherwise dangling cords can be safely attached, beyond the reach of curious youngsters – along with instructions on where and how to install and use them.
The warning is being issued in light of the recent case of 16-month-old Bronwyn Taylor who died at her grandparents’ home, in Stoke. She was found tangled in the blinds, having been left alone for only a few minutes.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“The tragic loss of this little girl is an example that parents and guardians of all toddlers should heed.
“Bronwyn was by herself for just a couple of minutes, but that was long enough for this fatal tragedy to befall her. That’s why we’re offering parents this small, but potentially life-saving, gadget.
“That said, beyond the more obvious threat of a cord becoming tangled around a child’s neck, it’s also possible that the blinds’ slats – be they vertical or horizontal – could prove a very real threat to a youngster who might not initially realise what’s happening if they become caught in the slats, and then panic, with a very sad outcome.
“We must all remember that toddlers shouldn’t be left unattended in a room in which blinds or curtains with a cord or slats are within reach of inquisitive hands.”
Tips to bear in mind for planned or existing window blinds or curtains.
• Install blinds that do not have a cord, particularly in a child’s bedroom.
• Alternatively, ensure any cord is designed to break under strain.
• Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair within reach of blinds or a cord.
• Pull cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short and out of reach.
• Tie up the cords or use a cleat, cord tidy or clip to secure out of reach.
A limited number of cleats is available from the trading standards team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 8407 1311.