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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 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 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.

Clothes

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 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.

Bibs

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

Jewellery

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

Related topic

Amber teething jewellery

Window blinds and curtain cords

Cords on window blinds and curtains have strangled children, causing death.

Do not fit blinds and curtains with cords attached. Make existing blinds safer. If possible, replace blinds with cordless blinds.

window-blind-cords-can-strangle
Window blind cords can strangle

Replacing and securing cords

Replace existing cords with curtain or blind wands. Keep wands out of reach of your child to prevent eye injuries.

Install a cord tie-down or tension device. These devices can pull the cord tight and secure the cord to the wall or floor. This prevents strangulation risk.

safe-blind-cord
A tie-down or tension device can make a cord safer

Inner cords

Inner cords are cords within window blinds that hold the parts of the blinds together. They usually run from top to bottom. They are usually within the blinds or at the back.

Check all your blinds, including roman blinds and venetian blinds, for inner cords. Inner cords are a strangulation risk to children as they can form loops.

inner-cords-on-a-blind
Inner cords on blinds can strangle your child

back-of-blinds
Cords on the back of roman blinds can strangle your child 

You can buy devices to prevent inner cords being a danger to your child. These include inner cord stops and breakaway clips. These devices will break the cord away from the blind or prevent a loop if any reasonable weight is placed on the cord.

You can buy inner cord child safety devices from companies that specialise in blinds.

Read more information on blinds and window cord safety from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Curtain tie-backs

Curtain tie-backs hold curtains back from the window when the curtains are open. They are a strangulation risk to children. This is because they create a loop to hold the curtain back. A child's head could get caught in this loop. This could lead to strangulation. Check the curtains in all your rooms. 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 and sight of children.

Keep cords out of reach

Keep curtain or blind cords out of your child's reach. Never put your child near a window or patio door if they're in a:

  • cot
  • bed
  • playpen
  • high chair

Keep sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases away from windows. This is to to stop children climbing up and reaching curtain or blind cords.

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.

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

Related topic

Cot death

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.

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Page last reviewed: 16/05/2019
Next review due: 16/05/2022