SA: Don't be blind: cords can cause child fatalities

Published: 
13 Feb 2014

Parents are warned to be on the lookout for household items that have the potential to be a safety hazard, and can even cause fatalities amongst small children.

Following the recent deaths of two toddlers in New South Wales, today South Australia’s consumer watchdog cautioned parents to be particularly wary of their child’s safety around curtain and blind cords.

“Blind and curtain cords can present a strangulation hazard to children, as they may become entangled in them while trying to use, play with or play around window coverings,” Consumer Affairs Commissioner, Paul White said.

“Cords can also strangle infants sleeping or playing in cots placed near windows where cords are within reach or hanging into cots”.

“Last month a 16-month-old girl died after becoming entangled in a blind cord and we know that one to two Australian children die each year after being strangled by blind or curtain cords.

“The fact that fatal incidents are still occurring amongst toddlers is of great concern and I urge parents to keep their young children away from blind and curtain cords.”

“It is also highly recommended that these cords be safely secured out of reach of young children.”

National mandatory safety standards for blinds, curtains and window fittings were introduced in 2010 to reduce the incidence of, and potential for, death and injuries to young children.

The mandatory standard requires that:

  • Corded internal window coverings supplied after 30 December 2010 must be provided with warning labels that highlight the strangulation hazard to children.
  • Corded internal window coverings must be accompanied by installation instructions and any components specified in the installation instructions.

“CBS undertake regular compliance checks to ensure that products are meeting their requirements under law,” Mr White said.

“Last year there were a range of blind products that were recalled for not having the correct warning labels and information supplied in the instructions.

“Consumers who spot products that do not meet these standards are encouraged to contact Consumer and Business Services immediately on 131 882,” Mr White said.

For more product safety information about blinds, curtains and window fittings, or other household products visit www.productsafety.gov.au.

For information on recalled products visit www.recalls.gov.au.

Contact details

For all media enquiries contact the 24-hour South Australian Attorney General's Department Media Line 0422 007 069
South Australia Consumer & Business Services