Bristol parents warned about blind cords

NHS Bristol is working with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to offer families another opportunity to obtain blind cord safety packs.

NHS Bristol and RoSPA will be supplying safety advice leaflets and cleats - a small plastic device that is fitted to the side of the window for the operating cord to be wrapped around - free of charge to children's centres across the city.

Children's Centres are being sent a supply of 20 free cleats to use however they wish. It is up to each centre as to how they wish to use them - some may give them away, others may display them to promote greater safety in the home or use them in promotional giveaways.

Health bosses hope that it will raise awareness of the dangers of blind cords and encourage parents to make their home as safe as possible.

Whilst there have been no recorded incidents in Bristol, sadly at least 23 children have died from blind cord injuries in the UK in the last 10 years. Research indicates that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in a bedroom to children aged between 16 months and 36 months.

Rob Benington NHS Bristol's injury prevention manager said: ''The cleats are small, cheap-to-produce devices that can save a child's life. They are fitted next to the window so the cord can be kept out of reach. They help debunk the myth that 'accidents' are inevitable, and empower parents to reduce the risks of injury to their children.

''We hope distributing them will encourage wider use of safety equipment like cupboard locks, hair-straightener pouches and door-slam finger protectors that are now available at Bristol's Children Centres.

''No child has died from blind cord strangulation in Bristol, and that is the way we must keep it.''

RoSPA has been working across the UK to raise awareness about the dangers of looped blind cords for several years. More than 130,000 safety packs have already been distributed to families and carers of young children.

Sheila Merrill, public health adviser for RoSPA, said: ''We are delighted that the generous donations from businesses following our appeal will enable us to provide cleats and leaflets free of charge to children's service providers again.

''We hope that organisations like nurseries, playgroups and SureStart centres, among others, will take advantage of this opportunity. This is a great way for our life-saving advice, and the free safety devices, to reach the families and carers of young children.''

Full details about the dangers of looped blind cords can be found on the Rospa website