Trading Standards warns of strangulation risk from curtain cords

Hackney Trading Standards is warning consumers to be alert to the danger of strangulation posed by cords and loops hanging from window blinds and curtains, following the accidental death of two children in Staffordshire.*

Trading Standards Officers also wish to alert businesses to a new safety standard introduced to help prevent accidental strangulation.**
Consumers are particularly urged to watch out for curtain cords ending in a loop. Officers are advising that, where possible, people cut the loops on their blinds and curtains or replace them with “wands” or tassles.

The advice is never to put a high chair, cot, playpen, bookshelf or sofa near to a window, where a child may be able to reach a curtain cord. Crucially, those in charge of children are responsible for following safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Hackney Trading Standards also urges local businesses to check their products and only make or sell blinds and curtains that comply with the new standard.

According to the new standard, this now involves: attaching a warning notice to the product; providing a device to keep cords or chains out of reach of children; and making a looped mechanism safe from risk of strangulation either by adding an extra devise or by making the design safer in the first place.

Steve Douglas, Hackney Council Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration said: “Loops on curtains and blinds are potentially lethal, particularly for small children. We urge residents to check their curtains and blinds, snip off loops where they can and secure cords so they no longer pose a risk.

“Hackney businesses should now comply with the new safety standard and we advise consumers, who are about to buy new curtains or blinds, not to purchase from a manufacturer whose products do not comply.”