The death of a toddler in Sydney’s north after becoming entangled in blind cords is a stark reminder of the potential dangers of rental properties.
The 16 month-old girl was found unconscious in her cot with the cords wrapped around her throat. She was taken to Hornsby Hospital in a critical condition, but died.
Leah Calnan from Metro Property Management said property managers are underestimating the risks a typical house can pose to children and elderly tenants.
“We need to see things and see the potential consequences. You might have an elderly tenant and not think there’s an issue, but there could be any number of hazards that we’ve become blind to,” she said.
Ms Calnan said that there are a number of areas in a home that aren’t regulated by legislation – but still needed common sense to minimise risks.
“Whilst there’s no legislation around ponds, you need to think about what could happen," she said. "The job is hard enough without having something that could have been prevented on your conscience.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has guidelines around blind cords and protecting young children, citing 200 deaths attributable to blind or curtain cords between 1991 and 2005.
“Since 2006, there have been five deaths and 16 near strangulations associated with roman blinds. Roll-up blinds have been associated with at least three deaths since 2001. There are regular recalls of these products due to safety risks both in Australia and overseas,” the ACCC website reads.
The incident follows a similar death in August last year, where an 18 month-old was strangled by a venetian blind cord.
His parents, Clinton and Laura, have since launched a safety campaign about the dangers of blind cords that aren't fixed to the wall, or looped out of childrens' reach.
Consumer Affairs Victoria offers free safety kits which help reduce the risk of strangulation and can be ordered here.