In the sickening seconds which followed, I learned that Christian and his friend had been jumping off the windowsill when a loop, which had formed in a venetian blind cord, caught around my son’s neck, leaving him hanging and unable to free himself.
Luckily, on this occasion, vigilance was rewarded, and the child suffered no lasting harm.
I in no way blame my friend for what happened. Highly safety-conscious, she had carefully wound the blind cord around a metal cleat beyond the children’s reach.Indeed, most blinds come with these cleats as a safety measure: a wooden or metal fitting that can be fixed to a wall so the cord can be wrapped around it.
Well, hurrah! No? I mean, that was supposed to be the answer, wasn’t it?
But clearly cleats are not infallible, as we discovered. Without a clear account from either boy, we are left to assume that one of them yanked on the wound cord as they stood on the windowsill, oblivious to the fact this left a loop hanging in mid-air, which fast became a deadly noose.
Oh. I see.
So…what to do?
RoSPA does say that the majority of children who suffer blind cord deaths are around two — an age when they are mobile but have no sense of risk or danger.‘Most children killed by blind cords are toddlers who have died in their rooms at a time when their parents thought they were sleeping,’ says RoSPA’s Michael Corley.
‘Our advice to parents is not to put blinds with cords in their children’s bedrooms.’
Well, no. Of course not! Only legislation will do!
Campaigners are lobbying the EU to get on with the job of ratifying new safety legislation to ensure all newly manufactured cord blinds come fitted with break connectors.
This would mean that the cord would snap when weight, like that of a child, pulls down on it.
Surely it is high time the EU rubber stamps this important legislation governing blinds. And that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles fully comprehend the lethal danger hanging at our windows.
So, in future, when your blinds get stuck, don’t give them a sharp tug to free them, eh? Or you’ll have to buy a new set.
Why not start legislating for the edges of all coffee tables to be wrapped in unmoveable foam padding as well, while they are at it? Oh, maybe I shouldn’t give them ideas…
And another generation of cotton-wool-swaddled, risk-averse sheep who expect the world to revolve around them is born.