A safer modern home.

James Deen – Taydec

02-02-17

I am sitting here at my desk making notes on what to write about in my 1st paper on child safety around modern home, and I started drifting. I drifted back to the 1st time I become a father to my beautiful daughter back in 2003 and how it was a magical but scary time in my life, then surprisingly my handsome son arriving in 2005 and how everything once again changed. They are my pride and joy, giving me the experience of a greater love, daily laughs, sleepless nights and those few grey hairs that are starting to sprout.

Becoming a parent forced me on to a major learning curve from the very beginning and even now as they grow and get older I am still firmly on that curve with no chance of getting off. To be honest, I’ve never been happier on this curve learning and growing with them. Even though there are plenty of books and websites on being a better parent, they rarely got read, taking each day as it comes, like most parents do I’m sure.

But as each day came, my awareness of dangers around the home became all too real. Simple things like turning your back for 10 seconds and your daughter has decided to cover herself and the sofas in Sudocrem, taking days of washing to get her hair from looking greasy. Or protecting the contents of the fridge from your son and having explaining why ‘butter is not a meal’. But there were much more serious things needed explaining, for instance, the dangers of being locked in a fridge, the chemicals under the sink, stairs, fireplace’s, sofa’s, bookshelves, blind and curtain cords!

To protect my children around our home, some of the things I would do would be to put locks for cupboard doors, the fridge, the washing machine. Installed stair gates, fire guards, baby monitors, car seats for the car. I would put bump stops on doors, corner covers for the dining table and kitchen work surfaces, caps over electrical sockets, the TV on the wall. Extra layers of clothing in the cold, sun cream and hats in the heat. The Green Cross Code, internet safety along with many other things which I could spend all day listing, but that wouldn’t get us to my point.

Okay, it’s a given that children inevitably injure themselves with cuts, bumps, scrapes, occasionally falling off their bike, biting their own tongue or even stepping on Lego, but death caused in the home by inconspicuous objects is very present, and most deaths are preventable.

Being in the blinds and awnings industry for over 10 years, I am all too aware of the threat that the looped cords on your blinds can pose. I am also aware of the amount of unfortunate but preventable deaths there are due to these cords, and I am also aware how to help prevent future injuries from new and existing blinds.

Are you aware?

There has been 28 deaths in the UK since 1999 caused by looped cords, 17 of which have happened since 2010, mostly to children who was between aged 18 and 36 months old. Unfortunately, those figures have once again risen further with the death of a beautiful young girl in Stoke on Trent, at her Grandparents home. There were also deaths in October and November 2015 involving other young children being strangled by their blind cord.

Article dated April 2016.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/06/toddler-dies-after-becoming-trapped-in-window-blind-cord

I cannot imagine the pain that family must be going through.

As sorry as I am to hear of this little girl’s tragedy and for the devastation it has caused her family, this makes me angry to see these preventable accidents are still happening, EVEN NOW!

Even after legal requirements for new blinds have been brought into place, stating that ‘By Law: Professional installers must fit compliant (safe) blinds in all homes’.

Two other recent tragic stories which really got to me were these below;

Article dated November 2015.

 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/moment-toddler-silently-strangles-window-6780820

Article dated October 2015.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/parents-of-blind-cord-death-toddler-share-heartachegod-must-have-had-a-mission-for-bryan-to-take-him-away-so-young-31595413.html

As you can see the 3 articles are all dated within the last 24 months and it is heart breaking to see something so easily prevented is still silently killing our toddlers. Who knows how many undocumented near misses happen every day?

In April 2014 European Legislation Standard BS EN 13120:2009+A1:2014 was introduced in the UK, supported by two additional standards EN 16433:2014 and EN 16434:2014 to ensure all blinds are tested and installed are compliant to help reduce the risk of such accidents, with all manufactures and installers who do not comply could be prosecuted under ‘The General Product Safety Regulations Act 2005’.

The new standard aims to protect babies and small children by:

  • Installing child safe blinds to ALL HOMES whether children are present or not.
  • Limitations on cord and chain lengths
  • Safety devices for preventing any cords or chains from creating a hazardous loop.
  • The fitting of safety devices on cords and chains at the point of manufacture
  • The testing of all safety critical components of internal blinds.
  • Safety warnings and product labels.

Again, this got me thinking… there are over 25 million homes in the UK and how many of our children are at risk from blinds installed before AND after April 2014. There are still many companies out there who do not supply, manufacture, install or even talk about blinds which are ‘Safe by design’. Nor do they offer devices which can be retro fitted on already existing blinds.

If a representative of one of these companies ends up in your living room…

…kick them out!

But do not panic! There are plenty of devices to choose from for all varieties of blind and most can be a DIY installation within a few minutes if you’re that way inclined and if not, call a professional.

Below I have outlined several ways you can help to stop entanglement or strangulation injuries and a couple of sources of information on how you can make you blinds safer.

There are many sources of information for you to be able to check that your blinds are safe and compliant, including RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) and the BBSA (The British Blinds and Shutters Association).

But, probably one of your best sources of information is me!

I am the proud owner of Taydec Ltd, a family run business, named after my own two children and based in Birmingham. We supply compliant blinds, shutters, external coverings and shade to our customers around the UK. My team and I are passionate about cord safety, which is why we specialise in ‘SAFE BY DESIGN’ blinds and curtain rails, motorising most of our installations. We are active members of the BBSA’s ‘Make It Safe Campaign’, strictly following their guidelines on all of our coverings supplied, meaning ALL of our products are compliant. We have been actively promoting cord safety and accident prevention with window coverings since our company’s inception back in 2009, celebrating the new legislation in 2014.

To sum everything up, there are many dangers in the modern home for our children and by doing a little research many more tragedies will be avoided.

Here are just a few ways you can make sure your blinds are not endangering your children:

  • Move beds, cots, highchairs and playpens away from window covering cords and chains.
  • Make sure all cords and chains are always secured out of reach of babies and young children.
  • Do not tie cords or chains together and make sure they do not twist and create further loops.
  • Do not cut looped cords, as cords can tangle forming new loops and also making your blind inoperable.
  • Move furniture away from window covering cords and chains as children love to climb.
  • Make sure your next window covering purchase is a ‘safe by design’ product.
  • If in doubt, call a professional! A true professional will give you the time to discuss your needs.

To help with our quest to make the UK’s window coverings safer, we giving away for the small price of postage a limited number of ‘Little Hands Safety Packs’ to parents who are worried about their blind cords and chains in their household. This package is worth £6.99 including postage and all you need to do to get it is follow this link!

Alternatively, email us with the subject title ‘JAMES, ARE MY BLINDS CHILD SAFE?’ I will then contact you to discuss your situation and help you select the appropriate device for your blind with fitting instructions, fixings and even a link to our ‘How to’ installation videos on YouTube.

*One pack per household.

If you would like to discuss this topic further please do, or connect with us on our social media outlets via our website www.taydec.com or get in touch [email protected]