RoSPA Make it Safe pack

A mother whose child died after becoming tangled in a blind cord is supporting a campaign that is distributing thousands of safety kits to young families across England.

Parents and carers can request a free Make It Safe pack from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) at www.rospa.com/about/currentcampaigns/blindcords/apply/.

Bundles include:

  • a blind cord safety advice leaflet;
  • a cleat (to tie up cords out of the reach of young children);
  • a warning tag; and fixing instructions for the cleat.

RoSPA, a safety charity, is also inviting child-focused community-based organisations, such as children’s centres, trading standards teams and Sure Start schemes, to help distribute the packs, of which there are 50,000 left. Interested organisations should visit www.rospa.com
for full details of how to become involved.

Joy Edwards was left grief-stricken when her daughter, Leah, was strangled by the loop of a cord at their home, near Maldon, in Essex, in October.

The 18-month-old was one of five children who lost their lives in this way in 2010.

RoSPA has heard of at least 15 such deaths since 1999, while suspecting that many more near-misses go unreported. Though UK injuries are not reported systematically, cases in the US show children can be severely disabled or left in a coma after blind cord entanglement.

Determined not to let other families suffer the same heartbreak, the distraught mum of four is calling upon organisations such as children’s centres, trading standards teams and Sure Start schemes to commit themselves to RoSPA’s initiative.

Mrs Edwards said: “I urge anyone interested in reducing the risks posed by looped blind cords to get involved in this campaign.

I don’t want others to go through what my family and I had to go through when Leah died.

“By simply following the advice contained in the Make It Safe leaflet and wrapping loops around a cleat cord tidy, parents and carers can go a long way to better protecting young children.”

About 6,000 members of the public have so far requested a free pack from RoSPA’s website since the 94-year-old safety charity expanded its national awareness raising campaign in October. The appeal to community groups is the second stage of RoSPA’s campaign to prevent further deaths or injuries.

Working closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA), RoSPA hopes that manufacturers and retailers can reach a voluntary agreement that will see an end to looped blind cords. Cordless blinds are already available, as are corded blinds with chain/cord-break connectors, chain/cord tidies
and cleats.

The current European standard (EN13120) relating to blinds states that safety devices must be supplied. The standard is currently being amended and its scope broadened. It is hoped it will take effect in the second half of 2011.

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s home safety manager for England, said: “Though we typically hear about one or two deaths a year, 2010 saw five young children lose their lives because of this ‘hidden’ danger.

“Each tragedy adds to the urgency to raise awareness of the risks relating to blind cord loops by distributing as many of these safety packs to families and carers as possible.

“Although we had a very encouraging response to the first phase of the campaign, we now need an even bigger response from community groups, as they have the facility to quickly and easily reach thousands more people.

“However successful the campaign to toughen standards is it will not reduce the risks already present in millions of homes.”

In return for free materials, RoSPA asks that you participate in completing a simple evaluation form.

Members of the public can apply for a free pack by visiting: www.rospa.com/about/currentcampaigns/blindcords/apply/

For campaign details, including advice about how to reduce the risks
posed by looped cords, visit: www.rospa.com/about/currentcampaigns/blindcords/

RoSPA’s mission is to save lives and reduce injuries

Useful Links

Download the British Blind and Shutter Association leaflet for more information CEN – The official standard EN 13120

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Photo Credit: RoSPA