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.