Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Tragedy a reminder of everyday dangers

The death of a Co Down toddler who was caught up in a window blind is a tragedy for his parents and extended family, and also a grim reminder to all of us that this is becoming too common an occurrence.

No one is to blame for little Daniel's death and the hearts of people across Northern Ireland and far beyond will go out to his poor parents.

Window blind cords have caused the deaths of more than 25 children in Great Britain and Ireland since 1999, and 12 of these took place in the last three years.

Many people do not realise that it takes seconds for a toddler to die after becoming tangled in a blind cord. And the reason they do not know is because this issue has not had a high enough public profile.

Martin Regan, whose grandson died in a blind cord incident, travels throughout Northern Ireland to help make people more aware of the dangers, and he deserves support for his call for widespread publicity to help prevent such tragedies occurring.

He has also underlined the need for the Stormont Executive to vigorously draw attention to the dangers, and also the need for a strong advertising campaign similar to that which has been drawing attention to the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, after the deaths of two teenagers in Castlerock some time ago.

Other safety measures should be considered, such as more warnings from manufacturers and retailers, and advances in technology which might prevent these accidents from happening.

However, it is most important to strongly impress on the general public the enormous dangers of window blind cords to small children, not least because blinds are increasingly becoming more popular than traditional curtains.

A high-profile public awareness campaign should be mounted to get the message across about the hidden danger lurking in every home, and that everyone needs to be continually on alert, not just in homes but in all other public and private buildings. It only takes a few seconds to turn a family's happiness into a lifetime of grief.

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