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Parents have been warned to heed safety messages about keeping blind, curtain and electrical cords as far away from children as possible after a number of tragic toddler deaths involving the cords. According to The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, every year, 1-2 Australian children die from blind or curtain cords and many others are hospitalised. Loose or looped cords near cots can accidentally strangle and kill small children. Babies have died from being strangled in blind, curtain and electrical cords they accessed in their cots.
The ACCC guidelines include the following safety information:
Installing or fixing blinds and curtains at home
When installing new blinds and curtains, make sure you or the installer secures any loose or looped cords—do not leave them hanging down.
Some blinds can’t operate properly without looped cords. To keep them out of children’s reach you should secure these cords with either:
tie-downs (cleats), or tension devices that enclose cords and chain loops.
You can get tie-downs and tension devices from hardware or window furnishing stores.
Always fix tie-downs and tension devices firmly to the wall or window-frame so a child is not able to remove it. Never use materials that can’t support a load, such as double-sided tape or glue.
Safety at home
Go through every room in your home and check for any blinds or curtains with long cords that are either loose or looped. Remember, this includes any cords that are within children’s reach at floor level or near furniture they can climb on.
Do not put children’s cots, beds, highchairs or playpens near a window where children can reach the blind or curtain cords. The cords can get around children’s necks and strangle them while they are playing or sleeping.
Do not place sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases near windows with corded blinds or curtains. Young children often like to climb onto furniture to look out the window. If they can reach the cords, they may quickly become entangled in them, lose their footing and suffer strangulation or serious injuries.
Make sure blind and curtain cords are not hanging anywhere within children’s reach. Loose cords can easily wrap around and strangle children who are jumping, playing or climbing nearby.
Always supervise children in any rooms with reachable blind or curtain cords. Accidental strangulation can happen very quickly, so never leave children alone in these rooms, even for a short while.
If you are living in or staying at a rental property, seek help from your landlord or agent to ensure cords and chains are out of reach.
Keep products with electrical cords – such as lamps and monitors – well away from babies' cots.
For products that are intended to be used with cots, follow installation instructions carefully. Secure any cords out of baby’s reach by tying them to the cot frame, floor or wall.