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Strangulation risks for children

​Your child is at risk of being strangled by anything that's put around their neck.

This includes:

  • cords and chains on window blinds and curtains
  • strings and cords on clothes and wall-mounted lamps
  • strings on household items
  • chains, ribbons and strings on soothers
  • bibs
  • headbands
  • hairbands
  • jewellery, including amber teething jewellery
  • electrical cords and wires
  • ropes
  • fixtures, furniture and fittings

Older children may share unsuitable objects with your child.

Do not allow children to play with string, cords, jewellery or ropes.


Any item near the neck of a child could get caught.

Do not dress your baby or young child in:

  • clothes with strings or cords attached, like hoodies with drawstrings or ties on hats

  • jewellery, including amber teething jewellery

  • belts

  • ribbons

  • headbands

  • hairbands

  • clips

  • ties

Only use a dressing gown with a short belt that is securely attached to the gown.

Do not attach strings, ribbons or chains to soothers.

Clothes safety


Remove bibs once your child has finished eating and before putting them down to sleep.


Do not put jewellery, amber teething jewellery or ribbons on a child under the age of 3.

Amber teething jewellery

Blinds and curtains

Cords and chains on window blinds, door blinds and curtains can strangle children and cause death.

They are a risk to all children, particularly children under the age of 3. Cords and chains with loops are a particular risk.


Remove all curtains and blinds with cords or chains from your home. Replace them with blinds or curtains that have no chains or cords.

This information is a guide only. Check with your blind or curtain supplier if you are unsure about the safety of your blinds. Ask them any queries you have.

Watch a video on hidden dangers: window blinds

Buying new blinds or curtains

Buy cordless blinds, pull up blinds or curtains. Cordless blinds are blinds with no cords or chains. Some cordless blinds include a wand to pull them across.

Ask the shop staff if any blinds or curtains you buy meet current safety standards.

Keep wands out of reach of your child to prevent eye injuries.

If you are buying blinds with a safety device, check that the device meets current safety standards. Make sure it is fitted at the same time as the blind.

Follow the manufacturers instructions and warnings if you are fitting the blinds yourself.

Blinds and curtains - dangers to look out for

Check every blind or curtain on your windows or doors for:

  • cords or chains
  • hidden cords or chains
  • inner cords or chains
  • bottom chains
  • curtains ties
  • curtain tape

If a cord or chain is within your child’s reach, it is a danger. Cords and chains with loops are a particular risk.

Be particularly mindful of your child's bedroom, playroom and any other room they spend time in.

Check blinds and curtains in other places outside your home that your child might spend time. For example:

  • child minders
  • grandparents
  • friends and family
  • hotels
  • restaurants
Girl holding pull-cord for blinds - these are a strangulation risk
Window blind cords or chains can strangle
Hidden cords or chains

Not all cords or chains are at the side.

Check the front, side, inside and back of your blind or curtain for cords or chains. Roman blinds are an example of a blind with cords on the back.

Back of a Roman blind that has vertical and horizontal cords
Roman blinds have cords on the back. These can strangle your child
Inner cords or chains

Inner cords or chains are in some types of blinds. They hold parts of the blinds together. They are usually within the blinds or at the back. Inner cords are a strangulation risk to children as they can form loops.

Inner cords running vertically down between each part of the blind
Inner cords on blinds can strangle your child
Bottom chains

Vertical blinds usually have a bottom chain. This is is sometimes called a spacer chain. It is usually made of plastic, or sometimes metal.

Bottom chains could be a strangulation risk to children because they are in a loop and may get caught around a child's neck.

Vertical blinds with a link chain running along the bottom of the blinds
Vertical blinds usually have a chain at the bottom that form loops and could be a strangulation risk
Curtain tie-backs

Curtain tie-backs hold curtains back from the window when the curtains are open. They are a strangulation risk to children.

They create a loop to hold the curtain back. A child's head could get caught in this loop.

Remove these tie-backs if you have them. Store them out of reach of children.

Curtain tape

Curtain tape is used to form pleats in curtains. It contains strings or cords that you pull. These strings or cords are a strangulation risk to children.

Keep curtain tape and their cords or strings out of reach of children.

If you have blinds or curtains with cords or chains at home

Remove every blind or curtain with cords or chains from your home. Replace them with cordless versions instead. For example, blinds with wands.

If it is not possible to replace them, reduce the risk to children by:

  • using a working safety device that meets safety standards
  • not putting any furniture near a blind or curtain, as children love to climb
  • removing any curtain tie-backs and storing them out of your child's reach

Make unsafe blinds and curtains safer

If you choose to keep your blinds or curtains with cords or chains, you can buy and install safety devices to keep them out of your child's reach.

Safety devices such as cord or chain tie-downs can pull the cord or chain tight and secure them to the wall or floor. This helps to prevent the risk of strangulation.

Other safety devices for blinds include:

  • cord and chain tidies
  • cord tension device
  • chain break connectors
  • inner cord or chain stops
  • breakaway devices
  • blind cord cleats
Cord of blind secured to wall by a tension device that keeps cord at a height
A tie-down or tension device can help make a cord or chain safer

You can buy these child safety devices from companies that specialise in blinds. Talk to them about what is best for your situation.

Check that the device you choose is:

Keep cords and chains at least 1.6 metres off the ground. But remember your child could still reach a cord or chain if they climb on furniture.

Keep furniture away from blinds or curtains

Check that furniture is not near windows and doors.

Even if you use a safety device, your child could climb up and get caught in the cord or chain. This is why the safest option is cordless blinds or curtains.

Never put your child near a window or door with a blind or curtain if they're in a:

  • cot
  • bed
  • playpen
  • high chair

Keep sofas, chairs, tables, shelves, toy boxes, bookcases or similar furniture away from windows or doors with blinds and curtains. This can help prevent children from climbing up and reaching cords and chains.

You should share this information with anyone who looks after your child.

Wall lamps with cords

Keep cords on wall-mounted lamps out of reach of young children. Keep them away from their cot, bed, high-chair and playpen.

Cots and beds

Strangulation or accidental hanging can happen when a child's head or neck is caught up in:

  • clothing
  • gaps between the mattress and the cot or bed
  • rope tied to or near their cot or bed

Never tie belts, dressing gowns, ropes, cords or skipping ropes to a child's bed to store them. Do not hang bunting or other items on your child's cot or bed.

Keep hanging mobiles out of your baby’s reach. Also keep mobile strings short.

Be careful using second-hand or older cots and equipment. They may not meet current safety standards.

Cot death (sudden infant death syndrome)

Furniture and household items

Beware of the risk of your child getting trapped or strangled by:

  • the bars of cots
  • furniture with gaps
  • stair banisters
  • railings

Keep electrical and lamp cords away from cots, beds, high chairs and playpens.

Make sure all string, ropes, cords and jewellery are out of your child's reach.

Page last reviewed: 14 October 2022
Next review due: 14 October 2025