Keep blind cords out of children’s reach and check them regularly.

That’s the message from the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (IoMOFT) to parents.

The IOFT is echoing a campaign launched by the UK Government, who are working with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, the Child Accident Prevention Trust, and the British Blind and Shutter Association.

Parents are being warned about the hazard blind cords can pose to young children and given tips to check they are safe, including: keeping blind cords out of children’s reach, moving furniture away from windows with blinds, checking cords regularly and fitting a tidy, tensioner or cleat if needed.

Tidies and tensioners should be firmly fixed to an adjoining surface to ensure that the cord or chain is permanently held tight. Cleats should be positioned out of children’s reach on an adjacent surface that is at least 1.5 metres from the floor. After blind use, cords should be fastened up in a figure of eight making sure all the spare cord is secured on the cleat.

Although changes to standards for blinds in 2014 have led to improved product safety, products installed earlier may not have these safety features.

New blinds with looped cords must have child safety devices installed at the point of manufacture or be sold with them.

Martyn Perkins MHK, Chair of the OFT, said: ’Looped blind cords can strangle young children and the OFT fully supports this important safety message which could affect many households on the island and help prevent an avoidable accident.’

Parents in particular are advised to check their blinds as a matter of urgency and keep furniture such as cots and beds away from windows as children love to climb.