A NEW pilot scheme aimed at safeguarding children from accidents involving blind cords was launched across Angus this week.
The joint project, run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and Angus Care and Repair, aims to fit 3,000 cleats - a small plastic device fitted beside windows around which cords can be wrapped - free of charge over the next year.
At least 22 children have died in blind cord accidents in the UK since 1999, 11 of which have occurred since the start of 2010, and RoSPA’s research indicates that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in a bedroom with children aged between 16 months and 36 months.
The organisation has run an awareness-raising campaign across Scotland and the UK about the dangers of looped cords, and has already distributed more than 130,000 safety packs, containing an advice leaflet and a cleat, to families and carers of young children.
Funds for the Angus scheme have been provided by RoSPA from donations given by businesses at its Occupational Health and Safety Awards gala dinners in May.
Elizabeth Lumsden, RoSPA community safety manager, said the project will help to save lives as well as ensure that awareness of the dangers of looped blind cords continues to spread.
She added:“The success of the pilot project will be evaluated and we hope that other local authorities will take the opportunity to implement similar projects.”
Angus Care and Repair, which provides home safety and security checks and carries out repairs or adaptations for home owners and tenants, will work with RoSPA to identify families requiring help with fitting cleats in their homes.
Company manager Judith Leslie said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this service to people in Angus. Care and Repair is all about keeping people safe and secure in their own homes.
“The fitting of blind cleats will benefit so many and prevent accidents. It is essential in these financially challenging times that we make the most of any preventative equipment and services available to avoid unnecessary and expensive hospital or social care as well as personal tragedy.”
The first cleats were fitted in Arbroath for a lady who regularly looks after grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Councillor Donald Morrison, who watched the devices being installed, urged residents to take advantage of the service.
He said: “Having blinds cleats fitted can help save a young child’s life so I would encourage local residents to contact Angus Care and Repair on 01307 463232 as soon as possible.”
Further safety information and advice can be found at www.rospa.com/about/currentcampaigns/blindcords/.