Mum’s window blinds campaign goes out on Facebook

A MUM campaigning for a ban on window blind cords has made an emotional plea on Facebook.

Amanda O’Halloran, from Tirley, started Sophia’s Cause after her 17-month-old daughter Sophia died by getting tangled in a blind cord.

  1. Amanda O'Halloran

    Amanda O’Halloran

She is calling for a Parliamentary debate on the issue, claiming the fact that all blinds can be bought with a cordless design rules out the need for the dangerous loops that dangle within reach of young children.

She needs to gather 100,000 signatures for her petition to force a debate – and so far more than 3,600 people have signed up.

On Saturday she posted an emotional message on her Facebook page: “Ban Looped Blind Cords in the UK – Sophia’s Cause”.

She said: “I hate weekends in particular, what used to be family time is now nothing but loneliness.

“My life seems pointless without you Fifi, there’s nothing in this world I want more right now than to have you in my arms.

“Very heartbroken mummy right now.”

Sophia died on June 27 while she was playing in the living room of the family home. She was left alone for just a few minutes.

In another post Amanda added: “Please keep sharing Sophia’s Cause, there are still so many people out there who are unaware of the dangers that blinds with cords pose to young children.

“My beautiful baby girl paid the ultimate price and I feel it is my responsibility to warn others so that no more innocent lives are taken this way.

“Sophia’s death has affected so many people, my little girl is loved and missed by so many.”

At the time of going to press there were 3,685 signatures on the petition.

The online petition will close on September 23, 2014.

To add your signature go to 55067 and for more information go to the Sophia’s Cause Facebook page.
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Mum takes Sophia’s Cause on to TV’s This Morning


Little Sophia


BEREAVED mum Amanda O’Halloran has taken her campaign to ban looped blind cords from home across the UK onto national television.

The 22-year-old, from Tirley, appeared on ITV’s This Morning show, to talk about the death of her 17-month-old daughter Sophia, who strangled herself on a blind cord earlier this year.

She said: “We had the stair gates, the fire guard, the plug sockets and we made sure all the doors were closed.

“We also had the clips that go on the cupboard to make sure she couldn’t get in the cupboards because she had an obsession with opening and closing doors.

“She was just constantly on the go all of the time.”

Amanda and her partner Chris Parslow never thought little Sophia would play with the cords on any of the blinds, especially since they were hidden from view.

She left the tot watching Peppa Pig while she went upstairs to grab some clothes for her to wear that day, on June 27, and was gone for no more than four minutes.

She told the presenters about the awful moment when she came back downstairs and realised something was wrong. “I had a quick look around the living room and I couldn’t see her,” she added.

“My house is quite small. It’s a little cottage with really low ceilings, and I had the door closed.

“And my first reaction because I couldn’t see her was ‘Oh someone has taken her.’ That’s the first thing that came into my mind.

“And I thought, ‘No, I locked the door and she was only watching Peppa Pig.’ And that’s when I saw her hanging on the blind cord.”

From March next year new regulations will be introduced, ensuring retailers will be breaking the law if they sell products that do not meet blind safety standards.

You can find out more about Sophia’s Cause via the Facebook site. To sign the petition go to

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Loyal keeper of a dying business



The self-made bamboo blind hung in front of Lau Hooi Kee. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily


Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

IPOH, Perak — There is a row of old shophouses along Lorong Bijeh Timah off the bridge on Hugh Low Street (Jalan Sultan Iskandar), one of which has been weaving bamboo blinds for almost a hundred years, witnessing its own transition from prosperity during the olden days to its subsequent decline.

Although the bamboo blind industry is quickly losing its appeal in recent years, the operator of this business remains loyal to the traditional trade.

There are not many shops still shielding their business premises from the scorching sun with bamboo blinds nowadays. To catch one, you may need to walk into the old streets lined with pre-war shophouses.

When approached by Sin Chew Daily, the septuagenarian owner of this shop was seen sitting alone in front of his shop flipping newspapers.

Rolls of bamboo blinds taller in height than an ordinary man’s are laid in front of the shop, along with some tools and a trishaw used to ferry the products.

Lau Chee Wah, the 76-year-old owner of Lau Hooi Kee, is the third generation operator of this dying business. With hardly any young people interested in inheriting this business from him and with the bamboo and wooden blind markets fast dwindling, Lau has been solitarily struggling to keep the antiquated industry afloat all these years.

Very few would ask for bamboo or wooden blinds these years although they were a necessity for all businesses during the olden days to shield the shops from the sultry heat of the sun while advertising their businesses on them.

Hardly seen elsewhere, these bamboo blinds can still be spotted today in the Old Town and some older neighbourhoods in Ipoh, albeit appearing worn out by the passing of time.

Lau told Sin Chew Daily this business was initiated by his grandfather almost a century ago, adding that both his grandfather and father were masters of this art.

Lau started helping out at the shop as apprentice in his teens, and having later commanded the skills of making the blinds, he became the natural heir to the family business. Today, Lau is still insistent on carrying out this business despite poor prospects for his products.

“We saw the prime of this industry but not many would look for bamboo blinds nowadays. I would only start work if there is a customer order. As for the rest of the time I would be left with nothing to do.”

Lau said his was the only shop still making bamboo blinds in the town of Ipoh and most of his customers are Malays which is peculiar as Chinese businessmen have long given up bamboo blinds.

Sold by area, each square foot used to cost only RM2 in the past but is now at least RM7.

“There are many alternatives available in the market and bamboo blinds are no longer the only option. As a result, we cannot sell them too expensively or no one would want them.”

He also said it would take at least two to three days to complete one set of bamboo blinds, including weaving, painting, etc.

As bamboo blind making involves a lot of work and the margin is thin, hardly anyone is keen to pick up this skill, which is poised to be wiped out by time eventually.

Tory minister refuses to back mum’s call for blind ban.

DEFIANT mum Amanda O’Halloran has vowed not to be deterred in her campaign to outlaw loop cord blinds – despite a Government minister saying there were “no plans” to adopt a ban.

The 22-year-old, from Tirley, launched the campaign Sophia’s Cause after her 17-month-old daughter Sophia died by strangling herself with the cord of the window blind in the lounge.
Sophia Parslow

Sophia Parslow


She had been left playing downstairs for a few short minutes when the incident took place.

Amanda and her partner Chris Parslow want all cord blinds to be banned in homes across the UK to prevent any similar tragedies.

After writing to her MP Mark Harper asking what could be done to ban loose cord blinds, the issue was escalated to ministerial level.

But she was disappointed when Michael Fallon, Minister for Business and Enterprise, wrote back to Mr Harper saying there were “no plans to instigate a specific sales ban” on blinds with cords, claiming there were already rigorous safety regulations in place.

Amanda, who grew up in Cheltenham, admitted it was not the response she wanted, but pledged not to let it affect her resolve. She has already gathered 3,000 signatures for her online petition and needs 100,000 to force a Parliamentary debate on the issue.

She said: “Other governments have banned these blinds so why hasn’t the UK followed? I won’t stop until my voice is heard. This is for my beautiful daughter Sophia and every child in the UK.”

Sophia’s death on June 27 was believed to be the 15th UK death linked to this design of window blind since 2010.

Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood called for a full debate on the issue.

“We need to start discussing this more seriously in parliament,” he said. “Perhaps an early day motion could be tabled or a meeting requested with Michael Fallon.”

To sign the petition go to and for more information go to the Sophia’s Cause Facebook page.

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Safety Officials Urge Parents to Inspect Home for Hidden Window Cord Hazards

The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are urging parents and caregivers to check all window coverings for exposed or dangling cords that could pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children.

Both government and industry safety officials say only cordless window coverings, or those with inaccessible cords, should be used in homes with young children. To heighten public awareness of window-cord dangers, the Council and CPSC have again declared October as National Window Covering Safety Month.

According to information provided by the CPSC, since 1990 more than 200 infants and young children have died from strangling in window cords.

The Window Covering Safety Council’s month long, nationwide campaign is designed to increase consumer awareness of potential window-cord hazards, as well as to urge parents and caregivers of young children to only use cordless window products in homes with young children and to replace all window coverings in the home made before 2001 with today’s safer products.

“Window cord strangulations are tragic, but preventable,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “In stores across the country, parents and consumers can find a variety of cordless blinds and shades, as well as window coverings with inaccessible cords. Going cordless is a smarter and safer approach in homes with young children.” Older window coverings should be retrofitted or replaced with today’s safer products.

The Window Covering Safety Council – which offers free retrofit kits and window-cord safety information – encourages parents and caregivers to follow these basic window cord-safety precautions:


  • Move all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces away from windows.
  • Keep all window cords well out of the reach of children.
  • Install only cordless window coverings in homes with young children.
  • Make sure tasseled pull cords are adjusted to be as short as possible.
  • Continuous-loop pull cords on draperies and vertical blinds should be pulled tight and anchored to the floor or wall with a tension device.
  • Be sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement on inner cords on blinds and shades.


To learn more about window-cord safety, or to order free retrofit kits for older window coverings,visit the Window Covering Safety Council’s website at or call toll-free at 1-800-506-4636. Parents and caregivers can also learn more about window covering safety by connecting with WCSC on Facebook and Twitter.

The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) is a coalition of major U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings dedicated to educating consumers about window cords safety. The Council also assists and supports its members in the industry’s ongoing efforts to encourage the use of cordless products in homes with young children, its redesign of corded products and to support the national ANSI/WCMA standard for corded window coverings.WCSC’s activities in no way constitute an assumption of any legal duty owed by its members or any other entity.

Contact: Dan Fernandez Tel: 212-297-2121 [email protected]

SOURCE Window Covering Safety Council

• Read more articles by Window Covering Safety Council


Impossible not to blame myself for tragedy

MUM Amanda O’Halloran says it has been impossible not to blame herself for a freak incident in which her 17-month-old daughter strangled herself on a blind cord.

Toddler Sophia was playing at the family home, in Tirley, when she got her neck caught in the beaded loop and fell over. She died in seconds while her mum popped to the loo.

Amanda said despite being plagued with guilt, she knew what happened to Sophia could have happened to anyone of that age.

Now through Sophia’s Cause, she and her partner Chris Parslow are campaigning to get looped cord blinds banned across the UK – as well as urging parents to use cordless blinds.

Amanda, 22, said: “Of course I blamed myself for what happened to start with. But every parent, if they are being honest, will tell you that it is impossible to keep an eye on their child every minute of the day. Everyone has to go to the toilet at some point.

“I know that by speaking out about my story I am risking some people criticising me as a bad mum. But I know that I wasn’t. Sophia was so well-loved.”

Sophia died on the morning of June 27.

“I still have to live with that image in my head and it is something I will never forget,” added hotel receptionist Amanda.

“But I also have so many happy memories of Sophia.”

She is believed to be the 28th person in the UK to have died on a blind cord since 1999.

The British Blind and Shutter Association said it is making changes to ensure safety devices come with cord blinds.

Amanda has spoken to her MP, Forest of Dean’s Mark Harper who said he would comment once he had spoken to to her again.

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael said: “Safety in the home is so important. I think it’s important to identify issues like this and act so they can’t happen again.”

Gloucester MP Richard Graham said: “This is a ghastly human tragedy, but I don’t think we should rush into changes into the law.”

To sign the petition to have cord blinds banned at

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The VELUX Group Launches the VELUX International Design Award

Award spurs students to explore the theme “Innovation by Experiments.”

The Velux Group introduces new student design award program

The VELUX Group recently launched the VELUX International Design Award aimed at spotting tomorrow’s trends and talents and discovering new, inventive blinds for the roof window.

What does the blind of the future look like? This is one of the challenges the new design award poses to students of design. The award spurs students to explore the theme “Innovation by Experiments” and to invent the future blind for roof windows. It is based on the wish to discover the best and most innovative blinds of the future and rethink current perceptions.

The design of roof window coverings (be it sun screening, shades, curtains or blinds) empowers designers to change the indoor environment by softening the brightest sunlight and managing day and night however the inhabitant wishes.

Window coverings provide the opportunity to interact with surroundings, and either connect or separate our immediate environment from the outside world. The design award therefore rewards solutions with the potential to make a real difference in the quality of people’s lives.

Design students from more than 20 European countries are invited to participate in the design award which is to be presented in May 2014. Entries will be reviewed by a jury of internationally renowned designers: the initiator of the Red Dot Award Professor Dr. Peter Zec,the Dutch textile designer Petra Blaisse, and Italian-Danish furniture design duo Gamfratesi.

Nominees for the design award are selected based on four evaluation criteria: innovation, quality of life, sustainability and market potential.

The first prize winner will be awarded 6,000 Euros at an award ceremony in May 2014. The winner of the second prize will be awarded 2,500 Euros, and all design proposals will be featured in a web exhibition. Contestants for the design award will have the opportunity to share their ideas in a social media community where everyone can vote for their favorite. The winner receives a prize of 1,500 Euros.

Kent Holm, Director of Decoration and Sun screening Products, the VELUX Group, says: “Many design students will be among tomorrow’s trendsetters. Our aim is to find the most gifted and maybe give one designer a chance to influence the future of the blinds industry. The design award is an alternative way of working with innovation and product development and we are very excited to see what’s moving in the minds of the creative young designers and to see what a blind also could look like.”