The Office of Fair Trading said the tragic death of a toddler in New South Wales last week (22 August) has highlighted to parents the hidden dangers of cords on blinds and curtains.
Fair Trading Executive Director, Brian Bauer made the comments at the start of Safety in Schools Week (26–30 August).
“Early reports suggested the baby boy in New South Wales may have died after a blind cord became tangled around his neck,” Mr Bauer said.
“This terrible tragedy emphasises the need for parents and caregivers to be alert to the dangers posed by hanging blind and curtain cords.
“Safety in Schools Week is a timely reminder for parents and caregivers to check their homes for potential safety hazards such as blind and curtain cords.
“It is also good time for them to talk to their children about safety at home and at school, including the dangers of playing with cords.
“Since 2000, at least 10 Australian children have died from blind or curtain cord strangulation.
“Close supervision is essential as it may only take a moment for a young child to become entangled in curtain or blind cords and silently strangle.
“For example, a small child can place their head in the loop created by the cord and hang themselves if they slip, move quickly or sit down.”
Mr Bauer said people needed to be aware that window covering cords should hang no lower than 160 centimetres from the ground, and should be tied up against a wall using hooks or cleats.
“Importantly, cots should not be located under a window where blind cords can hang inside the cot,” he said.
To reduce the risk of hanging cords, the Office of Fair Trading is offering free safety toggles to parents and carers to use in private domestic dwellings.
These devices enable any looped cords to break apart when pressure is applied, which can reduce the strangulation threat to young children.
Parents and carers can order their free safety toggles by visiting www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or by calling 13QGOV (13 74 68).
To make sure your home is safe, follow the seven safety steps for blind and curtain cord safety which can be ordered or downloaded by visiting www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or by calling 13QGOV (13 74 68).