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Success for Sophia’s Cause campaign: Ikea to stop selling blinds with cords

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Swedish furniture giant Ikea has said it will no longer sell window blinds with cords.

Cords from blinds have been associated with the deaths of young children, including Gloucestershire’s Sophia Parslow, through strangulation.

Sophia’s mum Amanda O’Halloran, from Tirley, was left devastated when her 17-month-old daughter died by accidentally hanging herself on the blind cord in her living room in June 2013.

Since then Amanda has campaigned tirelessly for the design of blinds to be outlawed to prevent a similar fate befalling other children, launching Sophia’s Cause.

In a statement, Ikea, which has a store in Bristol, said: “Product safety is the highest priority for IKEA, which is why we have been working to develop alternative solutions to exposed cords in window coverings.

“IKEA is committed to working together with our customers to raise awareness of this important issue and to help families get the knowledge they need to ensure a safer everyday life at home.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents welcomed the move, saying it hopes other retailers will also stop selling products with cords because of the risk of strangulation.

It says at least 27 todders have died as a result of blind cords and chains between 1999 and 2014.

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “This is fantastic news. Not only will it help to save many lives but it is an important step forward for the blind cord industry. It is encouraging to see such a well-known furniture retailer taking the necessary steps to help prevent further tragedies.

“Any move that reduces the risk to children is a move in the right direction. Too many lives have been needlessly affected by the dangers of looped blind cords, which is why we called upon the blind industry to take voluntary action to reduce the risk.

“We hope that other major retail stores will make the same promise as IKEA to stop selling window blinds with cords.”

Research indicates that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom to children between 16 months and 36 months old, with the majority (more than half) happening at about 23 months.

To reduce the risk posed by looped blind cords, RoSPA’s advice is:

 

  • Install blinds that do not have a cord, particularly in a child’s bedroom
  • Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window
  • Pull cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short and kept out of reach
  • Tie up the cords or use one of the many cleats, cord tidies, clips or ties that are available
  • Do not hang toys or objects that could be a hazard on the cot or bed
  • Don’t hang drawstring bags where a small child could get their head through the loop of the drawstring.

Read more: http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Success-Sophia-s-Cause-campaign-Ikea-stop-selling/story-27933606-detail/story.html#ixzz3nrlcLhPA

 

Toddler died after hanging himself on cord of window blind

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Thirteen-month-old Johnny Doran was pronounced dead at the John Radcliffe Hospital Photo: ITV Meridian

 

A toddler died by accidentally hanging himself on the cord of a window blind in his parents’ bedroom, an inquest heard.

Thirteen-month-old Johnny Doran was found suspended above the ground next to the window by his father Martin, 35, when he walked into the room.

The father-of-five, from Bampton, tried to resuscitate his son before ambulance crews arrived and took him to hospital in February.

The toddler never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead shortly before 10pm at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Martin and Anne Doran lost another son, Martin Jr, to sudden infant death syndrome at their family home in November 2011.

On the evening of the latest tragedy, ground-worker Mr Doran had picked up his eldest son Jimmy, 13, from a boxing session, returning home just before 9pm.

His wife Anne and their two other children Larry, 11, and Margaret, nine, were watching TV in another room of the family bungalow in Weald Street.

Mrs Doran, a housewife, said she had sent her daughter to check on Johnny earlier in the evening and that he was fine.

The inquest heard that Mr Doran used the toilet by the back door before walking into the bedroom – which he shared with his youngest son – to put his coat away.

A statement by Mr Doran read: “I saw Johnny standing next to the window.

“He looked like he was leaning over.

“I knew something was wrong, he was not moving – he was limp.”

He then called the ambulance from his son Jimmy’s phone and gave his youngest son CPR.

Coroner Darren Salter said it was a “tragic accident” and described the boy’s death as “extremely sad and depressing”.

Mr Salter also encouraged homeowners to ensure their blinds met new legislation – as the Dorans’ set did not.

Detective Superintendent Andrew Ryan said that police investigations with trading standards found no wrong-doing on behalf of the blind company that now no longer trades.

The new rules state that blind cords – made after February last year – must either be fixed to the wall or have a snap-mechanism when more than 4kg is applied.

Mr Salter recorded a verdict of accidental death.

No Dust Here! How to Effortlessly Clean Blinds

HOW TO CLEAN BLINDS

No Dust Here! How to Effortlessly Clean Blinds

by Sarah Lipoff 0 Reactions 426 Shares Print
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Along with keeping out the sun and offering privacy, blinds are a big collector of dust. It’s smart to add wiping your blinds to your monthly to-do, which keeps them free of debris. Not sure how to tackle this task? It’s actually so easy. Here’s what to do.

Quick Dusting

Open the blinds so you can easily reach between the slats. Dust the area with your favorite duster or a microfiber cloth. You can also use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck up any cobwebs or dirt that has made the space its home since your last cleaning.

Get Clean

Mix together a solution of equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle to use as an eco-friendly blinds cleaner. For really dirty blinds, you can also add one-fourth teaspoon of dish soap to help bust through buildup. Give the container a shake to distribute. Turn an old athletic sock inside out, and place it on your hand. Spritz the sock with the cleaner, and then gently wipe the top and bottom of each slat of the blinds. If you don’t have an old sock, a microfiber cloth works just fine too.

Final Step

Pull up the blinds, and give the window a quick cleaning using the same solution you used for the blinds. Wipe around the frame of the window, removing any last bits of dust or dirt. Then return the blinds to their original position, and enjoy the clean.

‘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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A Tragic Accident Gets Moms Talking About Window Blind Safety

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Once they hear that a baby’s on the way, moms- and dads-to-be read all the babyproofing guidelines and buy every product they need to create a safe environment for their future child. Despite all the precautions, however, some families still find themselves facing a tragic situation. That was the case for Erica Barnes Thomas, who, after constant babyproofing, lost her son Mac earlier this month due to strangulation. When the 2-year-old began climbing and grabbing everything in sight, Thomas installed new shades with a chord on the opposite side of her son’s bed. Then, on a typical Saturday morning, she went to wake up Mac. When she walked into the room, she found her son lying on the floor, clutching his two favorite stuffed animals.

“He looked like he was sleeping, but he didn’t get up,” Thomas tells Today.com. “I thought, ‘Maybe he’s really sick.’ As soon as I touched his cheek, I knew.” After the ambulance arrived, Thomas checked on the window cord and saw it was still attached to the ceiling, well out of Mac’s reach. Later, she noticed a tiny handprint on the window and came to the conclusion that Mac had climbed onto the nearby chair to look out the window, and got caught on a hidden cord that ran behind the blinds.

Thomas is not the first parent to experience this tragedy. From 1999 to 2011, 140 children died and 136 were almost strangled on corded window coverings. One of those parents was Linda Kaiser, who lost her 1-year-old even after taking all the proper safety measures. This incident led Kaiser to create Parents for Window Blind Safety, which works to “create safer standards in the industry and to encourage innovation of safer products.” The organization is currently petitioning for more cordless options on the market. While many companies have listened to the concerns and taken action, others are harder to convince.

“People get hung up on the expense and the inconvenience or the aesthetics,” Thomas says. “I get that it’s expensive to replace something that’s already there, but I would hang a garbage bag over my window or I would have nothing there if I could have my son back.”

Source: Shutterstock

Toddler’s Death Prompts New Warnings For Window Blind Cords

When we find out we’re having children, we end up doing everything in our power to baby-proof our homes to keep our little ones safe and out of trouble. We pad table corners, deadbolt doors, lock cabinets, plug outlets and put window-blind cords up high out of the reach of little hands. Erica Barnes Thomas did everything she could to keep her two children, Charlie, 6 and Mac, 2, safe. She was vigilant and made certain that all safety precautions were taken, especially when she had roman shades hung in Mac’s room, having them installed with the pull-cord on the opposite side, so it was further away from her son’s bed, as well has having a child-safety release installed on the cord as well.

The-Thomas-Family

However, despite all the hyper-vigilance, tragedy struck. On Saturday March 1st, Thomas’ oldest son Charlie, woke up at 6:30 a.m., and went downstairs into the living room to watch cartoons. Mac was still asleep when his mother checked on him, which wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, as Mac would always sleep later than his brother. Thomas busied herself by getting breakfast ready.

The morning was set to be a busy one, as the family was preparing for Thomas’ husband Stephen, a U.S. Army physician to return home from deployment in Jordan. They still had a few last minute errands to run, but by 9 a.m., she decided that it was time to wake up Mac. However, when she walked into his bedroom, she found him lying on the floor, clutching his two favorite stuffed animals. Thomas explains what happened next “I thought he was sleeping, he looked like he was sleeping, but he didn’t get up. I thought ‘Maybe he’s really sick.’ As soon as I touched his cheek, I knew.” Thomas immediately called 911 and began CPR on her son, but it was too late. He had been strangled by a hidden cord that ran behind the window covering.

Mac is one of the four children in the last two months who have died of cord strangulation from pull-cords on window coverings. Nearly 300 deaths have been documented from strangulation in window-blind cords between 1996 and 2012. On average, 1 child a month dies from the cords that are on window treatments, according to Kim Dulic, spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Dulic says, “all cords are bad, whether it’s on the front, back or side. Kids and cords don’t mix – that’s the message the commission wants to get out.”

Many parents already were aware to either cut the cords, tape them out of reach of their children, or tie it. But many parents are not aware that children can also strangle themselves on the cords that run through the blinds or down the back of the blinds. Various consumer and product safety groups have issued warnings and are now asking the government to take action and create mandatory standards for the window covering industries to follow.

Later on, when Thomas entered her son’s bedroom, she noticed a cord hanging from the window-shade. However, the pull-cord was still near the ceiling, out of reach. She believes that Mac must have woken up and climbed onto the only chair that was in his bedroom to look out his window, and must have gotten caught and strangled on the cord that ran behind the blinds.

CPSC acting chairman, Bob Adler offers some advice. “Make sure all loose cords in your home are inaccessible. The commission recommends buying cordless blinds. It is the safest option for your family.”

Source

News updates about Child Safety

Irish Independent
New rules to protect children from blind cords

NEW European guidelines to protect children from window blind cords have been introduced – but campaigners warn that over one million older …
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Mom’s anguish leads to renewed warnings of window blind dangers

He was strangled by a hidden cord that ran behind the blind. … on the cords that run either in back of the blinds or through the blinds to raise them.
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Blind cord safety in spotlight during Family Safety Week

Hilary Johnston, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager with the PHA, said, “Internal window blind cords and chains can pose a risk to …
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Vile online trolls target mum over tragic death of little Sophia

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Brave Amanda O’Halloran has been subjected to hateful messages from online “trolls” blaming her for the tragic accidental death of her daughter.

The 22-year-old was left heartbroken when her 17-month-old daughter Sophia died after getting her neck tangled up in a window blind cord and strangling herself.

The tot had been playing on her own in the living room for a matter of minutes as Amanda popped upstairs. It took her just seconds to die.

Devastated Amanda went public with her story in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers looped blind cords pose to young children, launching the Sophia’s Cause campaign to prevent further deaths.

This week she admitted that speaking out about her ordeal had its drawbacks. It led to a stream of vile online comments blaming her for the death.

Writing on the Sophia’s Cause Facebook site, Amanda admitted the ill-informed remarks had driven her to the very depths of despair.

But she has vowed not to be beaten by them and said she was more determined than ever to make something positive come out of Sophia’s short life.

She said: “I’ve been criticised a lot about Sophia’s Cause, people telling me that banning blinds with cords is pointless and that it is my fault Sophia died.

“I’ve been blamed and called an unfit parent, neglectful and that people like me should not breed.

“At first it broke me. I slipped into a deep depression and just wanted to be out of this world with my little girl.

“At some point I decided to ignore the trolls.

“I realised that these people were in their few and 95 per cent of people have in fact been very kind and supportive.

“I decided I wanted to make a difference and needed to do something, not just for my own sanity but for my little girl and for every child out there. So I started Sophia’s Cause.”

Through the campaign, Amanda and her partner Chris Parslow want a UK ban on window blind cords. They have already attracting more than 5,000 signatures in support.

Amanda added: “Banning blinds with cords might seem extreme to some but when manufacturers can make safer blinds what is the point in having dangerous blinds?

“I know if blinds with cords eventually get banned that it will take some time for them to be completely obsolete.

“But I will persevere – I won’t stop.

“I will carry on creating awareness and Sophia’s Cause will live on in the memory of my beautiful Sophia.”

To sign Amanda’s petition, go to epetitions.direct. gov.uk/petitions/55067

Deaths of 4 children in 3 weeks renews call to ban cords on window coverings.

McClatchy Washington Bureau

 

 

In the space of 22 days, four children strangled to death after becoming tangled in the cords on window coverings, prompting renewed calls for the federal government to strengthen safety standards.

The deaths of a 6-year-old Maryland girl on Feb. 8, a 3-year-old Texas girl on Feb. 15, a 4-year-old Georgia boy on Feb. 17, and a 2-year-old Maryland boy on March 1 are the most recent tragedies caused by children becoming trapped in loops formed by the cords on window coverings.

The product has caused nearly 300 deaths and serious injuries since 1996, according to statistics compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency.

A child strangles to death on average about once a month.

Despite voluntary industry efforts to make window coverings safer, the rate of deaths and injuries hasn’t dropped significantly in decades.

Consumer groups on Tuesday seized on the most recent losses of life to pressure the Commission to take action.

The groups want the Commission to create mandatory standards for window coverings so that manufacturers could no longer legally produce blinds that pose a strangulation hazard.

“Every day the Commission does not act, children are put at risk,” said Linda Kaiser, founder and president of Parents for Window Blind Safety, in a statement. “Four children dying in three weeks is tragic, unacceptable and preventable.”

Kaiser and her husband Matt formed the nonprofit Parents for Window Blind Safety in 2002, after their daughter, Cheyenne Rose, was strangled to death by a cord.

Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the Commission, said his agency takes such concerns seriously, but officials are not yet at the point of imposing mandatory safety standards on manufacturers.

Instead, the Commission is focused on educating consumers about their choices in the marketplace, and encouraging them to buy window coverings that are cordless, or with inaccessible cords, Wolfson said.

“It is absolutely tragic what has happened in recent weeks in Maryland, Texas and Georgia,” he said. “These are preventable deaths. … We urge all parents and grandparents when they are out shopping for new window blinds to be aware that retailers across the country have cordless options and options with inaccessible cords. These are products that can prevent a hidden hazard in millions of homes. They are becoming more affordable.”

The Window Covering Safety Council also offers three different free repair kits that parents and grandparents can order online, Wolfson said.

“They are a step in the right direction towards a safer blind, but they are not a fool-proof solution,” he said.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/04/3973739/deaths-of-4-children-in-3-weeks.html#storylink=cpy

Grieving father makes emotional plea over dangers of cords on blinds

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A grieving father has made an emotional plea over the dangers posed by window blind cords following an inquest into the death of his young son. Daniel Grant, from Mayobridge in Co Down, was just a few weeks away from celebrating his third birthday when his neck became entangled in a beaded cord attached to playroom window blinds last February. At an inquest hearing in Armagh city yesterday, coroner Jim Kitson heard how a mere 18-second delay in rescuing a child suspended in similar circumstances could prove fatal. Daniel’s father Brian Grant said parents, grandparents and child-minders all need to check their homes for the treacherous, continuous-loop cords. “Maybe some good will come from this terrible tragedy if little Daniel’s death raises awareness of how dangerous these blind cords are,” he said. “People need to check because things like this can happen in an instant.” Mr Grant was sitting only feet away in an adjacent conservatory, monitoring the playroom through an open door, when Daniel’s sister ran in to tell him of the accident. Both Mr Grant and his wife Paula attempted to resuscitate their much-loved son but he never regained consciousness. Paying tribute to Daniel, Mr Grant said: “Daniel was a very caring, well mannered sort of child. Just a perfect, healthy wee boy. A very happy and very helpful child. “He gave us all so much love and he was everything that we ever wanted in a child.” Giving evidence, Mr Grant recalled how that Saturday afternoon had been “just a normal day,” with one of his four children out playing rugby, and another asleep in his pram, when tragedy struck. “We did our best – myself and Paula – we did our best ,our very best. Everything possible was done to save Daniel,” he said. Thanking Mr Grant for explaining the circumstances, the coroner said: “No father should ever have to give evidence like this.” Paramedic Aidan Andrews to Mr Kitson how “advanced life support” was carried out on the journey from Mayobridge to Daisy Hill hospital in Newry without success. When asked if there was ever any sign that Daniel’s heart might respond to the defibrillator treatment, Mr Andrews said: “No, there was nothing there.” Colin Wallace of accident prevention charity RoSPA gave evidence that 27 children across the UK have died in similar circumstances since 1999, with many more “near misses”. From this month, an EU directive requires new blinds to be manufactured with a “weak link” in the chain to prevent a child becoming suspended. Following Daniel’s death, some of his organs were donated to save the lives of other children.