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New rules to prevent blind cord fatalities backed

CAMPAIGNERS have backed a tougher new European standard for household blinds designed to prevent toddlers being strangled by looped window blind cords.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said that the new rules would mean all new blinds had to be fitted with a mechanism that would snap under pressure and prevent the cord from wrapping round a child's neck.

Research shows that 27 children have died in accidents involving blind cords since 1999.

Victims include Muireann McLaughlin, a two-year-old girl who died at her home in Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, after being strangled by a cord in February 2008.

She had climbed onto a toy box to wave goodbye to her grandmother from the upstairs window of her home.

Her father, Angus McLaughlin, a radiographer trained in CPR, tried to revive his daughter and carried out chest compressions on Muireann for 45 minutes after finding her hanging from the cord.

Despite efforts by paramedics at Stirling Royal Infirmary, the toddler was declared dead half an hour after getting to hospital.

The new standard amends a previous European version which was published in 2009 meaning rules now cover all types of blinds.

Along with the mechanism to break the chord, safety devices will also now have to be supplied to secure any trailing strings to a wall.

Elizabeth Lumsden, RoSPA Scotland's community safety manager, said: "The arrival of the new blind cord standard is a welcome development because it will help to strengthen the safety of all new blinds and save children's lives.

"But it is important to stress that there are 200 million blinds already fitted in UK properties.

"This is why it is important to continue to raise awareness among parents, grandparents and carers of making sure that looped blind cords are kept out of the reach of children.

"Too many young lives have been lost and we don't want more deaths."

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Transport Tragedy

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