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Council issue Child Safety Warning on Looped Blind Cords / Chains

08 June 2017

The new Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, endorsed Council’s latest initiative on blind cord safety at Council’s Registrar Office on Thursday 8th June, reminding new parents that they can pick up their own blind cord safety pack when they register the birth of their baby.

As blind cords are one of the many hazards within a home that can harm or injure a child, precautions need to be taken to limit any risks. The Mayor, who spoke at the launch, encouraged everyone to make sure their home is blind cord safe. He said: “Council is availing of Child Safety Week, to highlight the dangers associated with blind cords and request that everyone take action and be mindful of the hazards around their home to help reduce the risk of an accident.

“Council’s Home Safety Team is here to provide advice and support on all areas of home safety and is dedicated to helping secure a safer environment for children under the age of five, to ensure they live life to the full and are protected from serious injury or death. I would encourage all new parents to ensure they receive their blind cord safety pack when they register their child and to contact our Home Safety Officers if they require any further information, or if they would like to avail of a free home safety visit.”

Child Safety Week took place from 5th to 11th June. Council officers provided advice and practical information on accident prevention in the home throughout the week, with talks to groups of parents, updates online and pop up stands in the Foyle Arena, Riversdale Leisure Centre and Templemore Sports Centre.

Seamus Donaghy, Head of Health, Community and Wellbeing at Derry City and Strabane District Council said: “Unfortunately, within our homes there are many hazards that could harm or injure a child. Child Safety Week is an opportunity to highlight the dangers associated with blind cords and encourage residents to reduce the risk of an accident in their home.

“Young children can be strangled by loops in the cords and chains that operate window blinds. This can happen very quickly, within 18 seconds of the child becoming entangled. Sadly since 1999, there have been 32 such fatalities in the UK. Children under 5, particularly those aged 15-36 months, are most at risk, although older, vulnerable children may be also be at risk.

“These accidents are preventable and putting in place interventions can minimise the risks. There are now “Safe by Design” options (blinds containing no operating cords, chains, concealed or tensioned cords) and if you have an existing window blind that has an operating cord or chain, it is important to keep it securely out of the reach of babies and young children.

“My advice to householders is to ensure any loose cords are secured using a cord tidy or cleat hook which are available from most window blind suppliers, or from the Council’s Home Safety Team to parents with children under five. Samples of these devices, are enclosed within the pack available to new parents, as it is important that you use the correct device for your type of blind.”

For further advice, please contact Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Home Safety Officers, Olivia Lagan (Strabane) and Deirdre Lynch (Derry) on
028 7125 3253.

Further information is also available online at www.derrystrabane.com.