Blind cord safety drive to protect children

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is expanding its blind cord safety campaign to three new areas in Scotland, including the Borders.

The project will see the local council targeting nurseries, but also working with a variety of partners to distribute 2,000 Make it Safe leaflets and cleats (fixed fasteners), around which looped blind cords can be tied out of the reach of young children.

RoSPA and Scottish Borders Council launched the project, funded by the Scottish Government, at a playgroup session in Newtown’s community wing last Friday.

In the UK since 1999, RoSPA is aware of the deaths of 15 children, including five last year, after they became caught in looped blind cords.

The expansion of the campaign to the Borders builds on a pilot project undertaken in North Lanarkshire last year. Further funding from the Scottish Government has made the roll-out possible, and the project will run for six months from April to September. Other participating councils are Fife and South Lanarkshire.

Scotland’s minister for community safety, Fergus Ewing, commented: “Since I launched the first blind cords campaign led by RoSPA in Scotland last year, awareness of the dangers of blind cords to young children has been increasing. I am delighted to see that the good work achieved so far in North Lanarkshire is being built upon with the campaign being rolled into the Borders.”

After the launch, councillor Alec Nicol, chairman of the Scottish Borders Safer Communities Partnership, said: “A hanging loop of cord can easily catch a child round the neck and be a killer. If you have cords on your blinds, fix a cleat now, tie up the cord and rule out this danger.”

RoSPA’s home safety officer Jennifer Henderson told us: “Since receiving Make it Safe information, 60 per cent of parents/carers who participated in the original pilot project said they were now unlikely to buy any blinds with looped cords because their knowledge of the dangers of looped cords had increased.

“In North Lanarkshire, it was really encouraging to see that people were talking about the information they received through the project, and were helping to spread the word about the dangers of looped blind cords. We are hopeful that the new Borders project will have the same impact.”

Full details about the dangers of looped blind cords and corresponding safety advice can be found at www.rospa.com/about/currentcampaigns/blindcords/.

The Make it Safe leaflet is available online at www.rospa.com/HomeSafety/Info/blind-cord-safety.pdf. The leaflet was produced by the British Blind and Shutter Association, with which RoSPA is working on a wider blind cord safety campaign.