We’ve seen recently in Australia a number of incidents where children have died as a result of strangulation from blind or curtain cords, some advice is offered below, should parents find themselves confronted with such a situation.
While there’s no doubt seeing a child choking is a traumatic experience, basic first aid knowledge has the potential to turn the situation around.
Some of the more common choking hazards can generally be avoided by having a look around your home and removing the danger.
Wherever possible, keep children’s bedding away from windows where blind cords hang loose. Use a hook to secure an extended cord or tie the cord together and store out of reach from toddlers and babies.
Remember these cords and ties all look very enticing to a baby or toddler, with bright colours and some curtain hooks having wooden or plastic components. To a small child these could look like appetising teething toys!
It’s not just window blinds than can be a hazard for choking or strangulation. Computer cables, mobile phone charging cords, totem tennis rope and dental floss can all present dangers to children. Anything larger than a five-cent piece is a potential choking hazard.
The following steps should be followed, should you find your child choking or in the event of strangulation or near choking:
- Remove danger or item from around child
- Check for signs of breathing (blue colouring in your child’s face or lips is a quick indication that there is a lack of oxygen)
- Start CPR (Note: There is a difference between adult CPR and child CPR – watch our video below for tips) if the child is not breathing – call 000 IMMEDIATELY
Supervision and securing hazardous items is the key, it only takes a second for a child to find a small item and place it in their mouth or for kids to create a game where a cord may be involved, and the consequences are dire.
Do a sight-sweep of the house, look at any cords that may be handing loose, even low hanging mobile phone charger cords can be a potential danger and secure these up high and out of sight from little ones.
Educate toddlers and older children of the dangers of choking, explain to them that only drinks and food are to go into their mouths and that cords, ropes and other things are NOT toys. Importantly, tell them if they do find themselves choking, to remain calm, while it may be easier said than done, reinforcing this message can go a long way should a choking incident occur.
Please note, these tips and advice are no substitute for first aid knowledge. A first aid course – especially one dedicated to children’s first aid will equip you with the skills needed in such an emergency and you’ll be grateful you spent the time learning the vital skills.
Have you secured all the cords and choking hazards around your house? Do you have any extra tips to share?