This is a post I never thought I would be writing. We see all those Facebook pages asking us to sign a petition to ban a certain toy or home appliance. If you care to look there will be one in your news feed everyday. I know, over time your eye starts to look past them because you think that wouldn’t happen to you so you choose not to waste time reading it. I’ll hold my hands up and say I am one of those people that look beyond those posts that appear on my news feed. I’d rather look at the pictures or funny video my friend just uploaded. Yes, some drew my attention. The ones that were close to home. For example, I followed ‘Jakes Legacy’ with great interest, I signed the petition which campaigns to have the Road Safety Authority Act amended. Also, the missing persons posts catch my attention if the missing person is from a county nearby.
I have three nephews and one niece. My two eldest nephews don’t live close. However, my youngest nephew (aged 7) and niece (aged 2) just live a stones throw away. I live with my parents who mind them most days while my sister and her partner go to work. I have the pleasure to spend everyday day with my niece and nephew.
Sofia’s Cause is a campaign set up in the UK to ban looped blind cords. One month ago if that came up in my news feed I would have scrolled past it. I live with my parents and our house has loop cord blinds on every window in every room. So why would I scroll past this post knowing my niece and nephew spend most days in their Grandparents house where these blinds exist? It’s simple, I would scroll past because the tragedy that created the campaign would never have landed on our door step. Wrong.
On the 16th of December 2014, tragedy struck. My niece Roisin got caught in the looped blind cord. Now, this is a blind that my father had previous tied up out of harms way. My father, always having the kids in mind, saw danger with the slightest things. So yes, looped cords are dangerous but they are still dangerous even if you take precaution to tie them up. People have to remember- children are children. They see the world in a different light. They see no danger. They have no fear. Perhaps Roisin saw the beaded cord as a necklace. Who knows.
When a child becomes part of your life, you take all the precautions to make the environment that surrounds them safe. You will place a fire guard around the fire when it is lit, you will put a gate on all stairways, you will put in plug covers, you will place burning candles on a high surface to prevent them touching the flame, you push sharp objects out of reach, you warn them not to climb on the chairs. Every household will take these precautions and many more. However, we forget about the silent killers; looped cord blinds. I’m sure they are not the only silent killer in family homes but it is the only one that I can discuss from experience.
A newspaper article came into our hands this morning. It quoted Sofia’s mum continuing her urge for the banning of these blinds after learning of Roisins passing here in Ireland. Since then, I have done nothing but research. All research provides safety tips. Mostly that you tie them up and keep chairs/cots away from the window. This is all well and good but our cord was tied up and people cant live in their homes with all furniture situated in the middle of the floor. Yes, perhaps taking these safety steps may safe lives but there is a method of eliminating the danger completely, that is to ban the looped cord blinds. They are in many homes at the moment across the world and those people can choose to tie them up or not. I believe it’s time to take that choice away from new consumers, and take those blinds off the market.
My sister, Roisin’s mum spoke on a well known radio show this afternoon (Joe Duffy) to raise awareness. I write this blog post to do the same, no other reason but to raise awareness. Please, my family and I beg that you take the time to check the blinds in your home. If they are hanging low and are looped- tie them up as high as possible. If it is possible and reasonable- replace them with blinds that don’t contain a looped cord. If you are building a new home ensure you do not purchase that type of blind for your window. I know many people will think “Thank god, mine are tied up and safe”. Check them! Maybe you can tie it up higher, maybe there is something you can adjust to ensure safety. It might be a pain every day standing on your toes to reach the cord to lower or higher the blind but it will come no where close to the pain of experiencing a death caused by that cord. Others may read this whom don’t have any children, and perhaps don’t plan to either; check your blinds because there will be at some time a child in your home. I have read articles where manufactures have blamed the consumer for the death or injury of toddlers. They stated that the consumer didn’t follow safety precautions. My family did so what’s your excuse to us?
We all live in a modern world. Look at how home furniture and appliances have developed over the years. It is not impossible to create a cordless blind and ban the future sales of looped blind cords. We can purchase cordless phones, drills, hoovers and they are promoted everyday and viewed as the best thing since sliced bread. Its time to promote cordless blinds and end sale of any other type.
As I said I write this for one reason only- to raise awareness. I understand, and I apologise to be sending mixed messages. I acknowledge I’m advising people who have looped blind cords in their homes to tie them up, yet I still feel they are a hazard. But I realise that people may not have the money to just change their blinds to cordless blinds. All I can ask is that you check the safety of your blind, whether you have children or not. If you are replacing blinds, replace them with cordless ones. If you read this and end up checking/adjusting your blinds you will never know if you have prevented a tragedy whether it was going to happen to tomorrow or next year. If you read this and believe there is no need to check them because you deem them safe- What if tragedy lands on your step and you remember this post and remember the day you decided against checking them? You will never forget it. So please, go check your blinds, and more importantly spread the word concerning their danger as the silent killer.
Blinds have been responsible for the deaths of 18 children in the UK & Ireland since 2010. It takes SEVEN SECONDS for the child to fall unconscious and only ONE MINUTE to die.
No parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle should ever experience this.
Thank you for taking the time to read. I will be happy if this post makes one person check/adjust there blind, or prevents one person from buying looped cord blind for their new home.
Also I would greatly appreciate it if you share this or other articles regarding the danger of looped cord blinds.
Below I have provided links to the pod-cast of Joe Duffys talk show where my sister tells her story and warns people of the danger. The second link it to the Facebook page of Sofias cause.