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Sunderland blind firm joins safety campaign after death of Sophie Allen

homefair blinds

A COMPANY is joining calls to raise awareness of potentially deadly blind cords after a toddler was tragically killed.

Steve Ellithorn, whose Sunderland-based blinds company did not supply those which strangled little Sophie Allen, wants to raise awareness of how blinds can be made safe.

The firm’s showroom in Fawcett Street hands out information leaflets to potential customers and also provide safety devices for making older blinds more child-friendly.

But there are still millions of potentially deadly blinds in family homes across the country.

Sophie’s devastated parents, Peter Allen and Danielle Hudson, have joined the Echo with our campaign For Sophie’s Sake, to raise awareness of the dangers of blind cords.

They watched in agony as medics at Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, battled to save Sophie in April.

Tragically, all efforts failed and Sophie’s life support was switched off in the early hours of April 26 after scans showed there was no activity in the toddler’s brain.

Homefair Blinds refuses to fit blinds unless they comply with new safety regulations, which came into force in February, and is offering free advice to anyone with concerns.

Steve, a 44-year-old father of two, said: “When I read about Sophie, I felt sick. It’s just the normal human reaction. I have children aged seven and nine.”

He added that new measures had been welcomed by the industry, but some customers still object to their blinds being fitted with safety devices.

He said: “People say, ‘I haven’t got any kids’, but if you buy a car, you can’t say you don’t want seatbelts because I’m not going to hit anything.

“What happens when you sell the car to someone else? If you move, your blinds are still in the house.

“People think it isn’t going to happen to them. We thought people would be more resistent when the legislation came in, but thankfully they were in the minority.”

At the two-year-old’s inquest earlier this month, the city’s senior coroner Derek Winter heard that 28 children in the UK have been strangled by looped cords since 1999 – 15 in the last four years.

Sophie’s parents said: “Too many children die because of blind cords. They have been banned in America and other countries.

“The reason being, children still have accidents with blind cords when safety devices are fitted.

“Devices have failed in the past – cord breakers have not snapped and clips on the walls have been able to be pulled off.

“Basically, these safety devices still don’t prevent blind cord accidents.’’

They added: “Our campaign is to make people aware and make them safe for the millions of people that already have blinds fitted in their homes.’’

 

http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/sunderland-blind-firm-joins-safety-campaign-after-death-of-sophie-allen-1-6686906

‘Inquisitive’ two-year-old girl strangled to death by blind cord after it wrapped around her neck as she looked out of the window.

  • Sophie Allen, 2, was found hanging from a cord in her bedroom

  • Inquest hears cord wrapped around her neck while she looked out of bedroom window

  • Coroner Derek Winter demands more to be done to prevent future deaths

  • Says millions of families could have deadly blind cords in their homes

A coroner has demanded the government do more to improve the safety of blind cords warning millions of homes could still have deadly blinds after a two-year-old girl was strangled to death.

Sophie Allen suffered brain damage after she was found hanging from the blind cord in her bedroom at her home in Sunderland.

At an inquest into her death, it was heard that the inquisitive toddler, who was playing with her brother, is thought to have climbed on to a storage box to look at her pet rabbits out of the window.
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Two-year-old Sophie Allen from Sunderland, who died after she became entangled in a blind cord in her bedroom 

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Sophie was found in this bedroom at the family’s home in Sunderland after looking out of the window to see her pet rabbits

But the box tipped over and Sophie got her head caught in the noose of the cord and when she slipped, it cut her air supply off.

She was rushed to hospital but despite doctors’ best efforts scans showed there was no activity in the toddler’s brain and her life support machine was switched off.

Now coroner Derek Winter has urged the Government to do more to prevent future deaths.

New safety regulations governing the manufacture of blind cords came into force in February.

But Mr Winter said this would mean there are still millions of potentially deadly blinds in family homes.

He added he plans to use his powers to write to the Government to see if more can be done to prevent future deaths.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, he explained: ‘I will ask that they reply within 56 days as to what additional measures can be taken to highlight public awareness, so those people who have existing blinds fitted can take immediate action to take away the risk of those blinds, and the regulations that are in place from February are brought to everyone’s attention and the number of deaths from blind cords can be eliminated or almost certainly reduced.

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Sophie, pictured with her brother Jayden, right, who she shared a bedroom with, and her baby sister Amelia

 

At the inquest in Sunderland it was heard that Sophie lived with her parents Peter Allen and Danielle Hudson, along with her siblings Amelia and Jayden, with whom she shared a bedroom.

The hearing was told that Sophie, who would have been three in December, was ‘a very inquisitive child’, and enjoyed looking out of her bedroom window to keep an eye on her pet rabbits.

NEW REGULATIONS ON BLIND CORDS

 

In February, new safety regulations came into effect covering cords on most types of blinds.

The new rules means that blinds must be ‘safe by design’ and supplied with an appropriate child safety device.

These devices break the cord or chain under pressure or provide the facility to store the cord out of reach.

 

Detective Inspector Shelly Hudson, from Northumbria Police, said at about 8.30am on April 20, Sophie’s parents heard the two children playing in their bedroom.

Her mother got up to go to the toilet and saw Sophie’s brother was standing on his bed and a storage unit in the bedroom had tipped over.

 

DI Hudson said: “Sophie’s sibling told his mam that Sophie was stuck, but because she was an inquisitive little girl, she assumed she was hiding.

 

‘She went quickly to the toilet and went back to the bedroom and as she opened the child gate, she noticed her brother was looking concerned and standing on his bed.

‘She asked him again where she was and he pointed at the storage unit next to the window.

 

‘She noticed a shadow behind the curtain, moved the curtain to one side and realised Sophie had the blind cord around her neck.’

The frantic mother freed the unconscious toddler and carried her downstairs where they parents tried to perform CPR.

 

When it did not work they went to a neighbour’s house to call an ambulance as Miss Hudson could not get through on her phone.

 
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At an inquest, Sophie was described as an ‘inquisitive’ child who liked to look out of her bedroom window to keep an eye on her pet rabbits 

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The two-year-old was treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, pictured, after being transferred from Sunderland Royal Hospital but doctors were unable to save her

Sophie was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital before being transferred to a specialist children’s unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

 

But despite efforts of medics, her life support machine was switched off in the early hours of April 26.

 

DI Hudson said that 28 children in the UK have been strangled by looped cords since 1999, with 15 of the deaths in the last four years.

 

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accident (RoSPA) estimates there are more than 200 hundred million unsafe blind cords in the UK.

 

The charity has handed out more than 50,000 free ‘cleats’, which tie up blind cords, as part of an ongoing safety campaign.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2651357/Coroner-demands-action-inquisitive-two-year-old-girl-strangled-death-blind-cord.html#ixzz342LpkzHo
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Remodeling 101: Simple Roller Blinds by Christine Chang Hanway

 

 

 

My living accommodations in architecture school came with windows, but no window treatments. On a student budget, I did nothing, a solution which suited me just fine—the purist in me strongly believed that windows should be allowed to do their job of letting light in unfettered by the messiness of curtains or the clutter of Venetian blinds. And then one day a friend pointed out that while I may be comfortable exposing myself for the sake of architecture, those with a view into my room at night might not feel the same way. The owner of the local hardware store suggested roller blinds. I installed them myself—my first DIY—and have been committed to their simple effectiveness ever since. Read on to see why roller blinds have been my one and only window treatment everywhere I’ve lived.

What is a roller blind?

A roller blind is comprised of a rectangular swath of material (it can vary from  attached to an aluminum tube and mounted between two brackets. A chain pulley system or a spring mechanism rolls the fabric up or down, depending on where you want it. Automated roller blinds are available, but in my opinion automation seems to unnecessarily complicate things. That said, hanging cords and loops present a bonafide hazard in house’s with young kids; read the New York Times’ report on the subject before selecting the right model for you.

Ikea Enje Roller Blind | Remodelista

Above: The Ikea Enje Roller Blind filters light and reduces glare on computers and televisions; it’s available in a variety of sizes. The Enje Roller Blind UK comes with a pulley cord and is priced at £14 to £22, while the Enje Roller Blind US comes cordless for increased child safety, $17.99 to $34.99.

Why are roller blinds my favorite window treatment?

I like the dimensions of my windows to be fully exposed, and in their open position, roller blinds disappear in a way that curtains, shutters, Venetian blinds, and Roman shades never do. And when I have to lower them, roller blinds have a visual consistency that allows them to become part of the architecture as opposed to an added layer of decoration (though, conversely, curtains can add a grandeur that shades lack. They can also keep out drafts).

Sheer roller Blinds in white living room | Remodelista

Above: Simple roller blinds in a white setting become part of the architecture of a room. In a room with a series of same-sized windows, roller blinds lined up at the same height appeal to those of us who appreciate precision. Image via DBA Blinds.

How much light can roller blinds let in or block out?

Whatever your reasons for needing window shades, there are many fabric options from sheer to opaque to give you the degree of control you’re after. In our house in London, we wanted two extremes: we are inclined to let in as much light in as possible during the day, and yet when we sleep, we want to be able to black out all early morning light. We needed blinds on all our windows because on the street front we have a privacy issue and throughout there’s computer glare. For visual consistency, we chose the same sheer fabric for all our windows, and our solution in the bedrooms was to install a double roller blind with sheer fabric on one roller and a blackout shade on the other.

Double roller blinds | Remodelista

Above: Three double roller blinds are used to cover a wall of windows. During the day, the sheer blinds filter and diffuse the light coming in, while the blackout blinds keep the room dark at night. Image via Ati Shutters and Blinds.

Double roller blind hardware | Remodelista

Above: On a double roller blind, two rollers can accommodate two different fabrics, so you can have sheer and blackout options. Image via Sunlight.

What type of settings do roller blinds work well in?

In their simplicity, roller blinds have a neutral appearance and go with all styles of decor, from traditional to contemporary. They can be mounted a number of ways: in between the window frames (but beware that some light may leak in from the sides), in front of the window frames, or even from the ceiling. The mounting options, of course, depend on your existing conditions. When roller blinds are mounted between the frames, the windows stand out; if they’re mounted in front of the window frames, they typically mask the frames, and a ceiling mount can make a room feel taller.

Sheer roller blinds in traditional window frames | Remodelista

Above: The roller blinds have been mounted to the underside of these traditional wooden window frames and the fabric, when rolled up, sits between the frames as a barely noticeable horizontal line. Image via Solid Frog.

Sheer roller blinds in white diining room, white ceiling pendants | Remodelista

Above: This modern setting has a roller blind that’s been mounted to roll down in front of the window and its frame. Image via Slijkhuis-Interieur.

Are roller blinds easy to clean?

It’s recommended that roller blinds be cleaned once a year, whereas curtains, because they harbor dust mites, require more frequent cleaning—three to four times a year depending on how prone your family is to allergies. Cleaning roller blinds is relatively straightforward and involves removing them from their brackets and rolling them out on the floor to towel them off with a mild cleaning solution. Curtains, on the other hand, need to be dismantled, washed, and pressed, or dry cleaned and then remounted. In my time-pressed schedule, maintaining roller blinds doesn’t fill me with dread the way cleaning curtains does, increasing the likelihood that it may happen.

Cleaning Venetian Blinds | Remodelista

Above: The process of cleaning each individual blade of a Venetian blind rules them out for me. Image via The Blinds Review.

How much do roller blinds cost and where can I get them?

Roller blinds come in a wide range of sizes and prices, from readymade versions you install yourself to designs that are made to measure. At Home Depot, a Bali Cut-to-Size White Light Filtering Vinyl Roller Shade costs 50 cents a square foot, while made-to-measure roller blinds from Levolor, The Shade Store, and Smith+Noble cost around $9 to $15 a square foot, depending on fabric and accessories. The Shade Store offers local certified installers who will come and measure and install at an additional cost; Margot tried this and was happy with the results. Well known brands like Levolor and Hunter Douglas can be ordered online or through window covering specialists in your area. In the Bay Area, Julie uses Burris Window Shades.

Roller Shade Recap

Pros

  • Clean look that becomes part of the architecture
  • Tend to be more cost-effective than curtains
  • Easier to clean and maintain than other window treatments

Cons

  • Roller blinds with cords present a safety hazard for households with young kids
  • Shades aren’t as effective as curtains at keeping out draughts
  • Roller blinds that are installed in between window frames allow light to seep in in the gap between the blind and the frame
  • Not as formal or elegant as curtains

For more window treatment ideas, see Five Ways to Cover 50 Windows on a Budget. And learn The Secret Ingredient to Make Windows Shine Bright Like a Diamond. Contemplating a remodel? Have a look at all of our Remodeling 101 posts.

 

Deva blinds join the “Make it safe” campaign

With the immanent ratification of BS EN 13120 where it will be mandatory for manufacturers and installers in the blinds industry to provide child safe blinds, Deva blinds have decided to join the “Make it Safe” campaign run by the British Blinds and Shutters Association.

Paul Pollard-Fraser, owner of Deva blinds said, “We have always taken child safety seriously when we fit blinds.  The new European legislation, BS EN 13120, is about to come become law.  By joining the “Make it safe” campaign run by the BBSA we will remain up to date with the legislation.”

“I am keen wherever possible to manufacture our blinds that do not pose a risk to young children and as such we no longer make vertical blinds with looped cords.  Our vertical blinds are now controlled by a wand, which is 100% child safe.”

“I installed a Roman blind made by one of our out sourced suppliers today.  The blind had a contentious looped cord and they had supplied a “P” clip that could not be attached to the cord.  As much use as a chocolate tea pot!.  The whole industry needs to get very serious about child safety.”

 

 

Make it safe

 

 

Paul Pollard-Fraser – Deva Blinds Ltd  devablinds.co.uk 

Deva blinds will no longer manufacture corded vertical blinds.

Vertical blind - Wand control

 

With the soon to be implemented introduction of European law EN13120 about the safety of blinds for young children, Deva blinds Ltd have taken a step to greatly increase the safety of their blinds.

Paul Pollard-Fraser, owner of Deva blinds said “The new law will hopefully reduce the risk for young children, but I want to eliminate the risk altogether.  We are going to stop manufacturing our vertical blinds with looped cords and only supply them with a wand operation.  This will ensure that there is no risk to young children.”

“I have been fitting blinds for many years now and most parents and grandparents are aware of the dangers of electric sockets and the stairs, but often forget about the dangers of looped blind cords.  By only manufacturing vertical blinds without looped cords we will be able to totally remove the risk to young children.”

“Deva blinds also offer perfect fit blinds that fit to the individual window without any trailing cords and also have sprung loaded blinds that remove the need for cord operations.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blinds expert backs ‘Legacy for Lucy’ campaign to ban looped cords

A MAN with more than 30 years of experience working in the curtain and blind industry has backed a campaign over the safety of looped blind cords.

As reported in the Daily Echo, grieving Bournemouth mum Annette Latimer is calling for people to back the ‘Legacy for Lucy’ campaign after her two-year-old daughter Lucy died when she got caught up in a blind cord in her bedroom five years ago.

Earlier this month, she found out that another little girl, Sophia Lily Parslow, aged 17 months, died in the same tragic way and she decided that something had to be done. She was the 28th child to die in such a way since 1999.

Chris Hodgkins, who is based in Canford Heath, said there were already devices that could prevent accidents – and he urged all parents to make sure they are fitted.

He said a device called a cord tidy was available to keep cords out of the way and they could be fitted retrospectively.

Chris added: “The blind manufacturers supply these and when I go out and measure a job I mention to people that if they have young children they should have them fitted. But some say they don’t want them fitted.

“It’s about three years ago that these came in and we think in the next 12 months that it will become law. It’s not just down to the fitters and suppliers, it is also down to the pub

Annette said she wanted as many people as possible to know of the dangers of the blinds and has launched a petition to get them completely banned.

She added yesterday: “If something else can be done that makes sure that, 100 per cent, everybody is safe, then that’s my aim.

“The more people that know, the more people that will go out and fit a device.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has been successful in asking the government to make it a regulation that these type of blinds are manufactured with breakaway connectors.

It has also encouraged parents to fit safety devices to existing looped cord blinds.

Blinds expert backs ‘Legacy for Lucy’ campaign to ban looped cords

A MAN with more than 30 years of experience working in the curtain and blind industry has backed a campaign over the safety of looped blind cords.

As reported in the Daily Echo, grieving Bournemouth mum Annette Latimer is calling for people to back the ‘Legacy for Lucy’ campaign after her two-year-old daughter Lucy died when she got caught up in a blind cord in her bedroom five years ago.

Earlier this month, she found out that another little girl, Sophia Lily Parslow, aged 17 months, died in the same tragic way and she decided that something had to be done. She was the 28th child to die in such a way since 1999.

Chris Hodgkins, who is based in Canford Heath, said there were already devices that could prevent accidents – and he urged all parents to make sure they are fitted.

He said a device called a cord tidy was available to keep cords out of the way and they could be fitted retrospectively.

Chris added: “The blind manufacturers supply these and when I go out and measure a job I mention to people that if they have young children they should have them fitted. But some say they don’t want them fitted.

“It’s about three years ago that these came in and we think in the next 12 months that it will become law. It’s not just down to the fitters and suppliers, it is also down to the pub

Annette said she wanted as many people as possible to know of the dangers of the blinds and has launched a petition to get them completely banned.

She added yesterday: “If something else can be done that makes sure that, 100 per cent, everybody is safe, then that’s my aim.

“The more people that know, the more people that will go out and fit a device.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has been successful in asking the government to make it a regulation that these type of blinds are manufactured with breakaway connectors.

It has also encouraged parents to fit safety devices to existing looped cord blinds.

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 www.windowcoverings.org 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

 

Couple’s campaign for blind cord safety

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A couple from Gloucestershire whose baby daughter died after becoming trapped in the cord of a window blind have started a campaign to get certain types of cord banned in the UK.

Amanda O’Halloran and Chris Parslow believe that safety measures do not go far enough after their 17-month-old, Sophia, died in June.

The British Blinds and Shutter Association has its own awareness campaign, called Make It Safe, and says it is fully committed, along with its members, to help eliminate the risk associated with looped cords, chains and tapes used on window blinds.

Madeleine Ware reports.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24321541

http://www.makeitsafe.org.uk

Couple’s campaign for blind cord safety

A couple from Gloucestershire whose baby daughter died after becoming trapped in the cord of a window blind have started a campaign to get certain types of cord banned in the UK.

Amanda O’Halloran and Chris Parslow believe that safety measures do not go far enough after their 17-month-old, Sophia, died in June.

The British Blinds and Shutter Association has its own awareness campaign, called Make It Safe, and says it is fully committed, along with its members, to help eliminate the risk associated with looped cords, chains and tapes used on window blinds.

Madeleine Ware reports.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24321541