A focus on cords

The parents of a NSW toddler who died after being strangled by a blind cord are campaigning to make it compulsory to retrofit all window coverings for safety.

New curtains and blinds have mandatory standards to prevent child strangulation, but these do not apply to older window coverings such as the one which strangled Jack Mackay, aged 18 months, last August in Port Stephens.

For landlords who do not want to replace window coverings, there are several ways of making existing fittings safer.

These include:

  • Supplying a cleat on the wall at least 160cm from the floor so blind cords can be safely stowed.
  • Retrofitting the bottom of the cord or chain so that attached to the floor or base of the window and kept under tension.
  • Using safety tassels which join cords together but break under pressure.
RentCover General Manager Sharon Fox-Slater urged property managers to check on blinds as part of their routine inspections and give landlords the opportunity to have any issues rectified.

“A couple of dollars for a cleat could save a life,” she said. “Every year, at least two deaths from  cords are reported, and those deaths are preventable.”