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Sunderland MP to raise blind safety campaign in Parliament

Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson MP

A WEARSIDE MP is backing an Echo campaign to raise awareness of potentially-deadly blind cords.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, has vowed to raise the issue in Parliament, after hearing about the tragic death of Sunderland toddler Sophie Allen.

The two-year-old was caught in a looped blind cord in a bedroom at her Sunderland home and later died in hospital, after suffering brain damage.

Sophie’s devastated parents, Peter Allen and Danielle Hudson, have teamed up with the Echo for our campaign For Sophie’s Sake, to raise awareness of the dangers of blind cords.

They watched in agony as medics at Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, battled to save Sophie.

Her life support was switched off in the early hours of April 26, after scans showed there was no activity in the toddler’s brain.

New safety regulations governing the manufacture of blind cords came into force earlier this year, but an inquest into Sophie’s death heard there are still millions of potentially deadly blinds in family homes across the country.

Now Mrs Hodgson has met with Sophie’s parents and wants to see more done to highlight the risk posed by looped blind cords.

She said: “Whilst new safety regulations introduced in February in order to try and prevent accidental deaths from blind cords are very welcome, I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Sophie Allen and was keen to speak to her parents, Peter and Danielle, to lend my support to their campaign in raising awareness of the danger of blind cords to children.

“With most parents unaware of the potential danger of blind cords which are a feature of most households, there is an urgent need to raise awareness of how dangerous these blinds can be especially to toddlers and young children.

“This is why I support Peter and Danielle’s campaign with the Echo to raise this vital awareness and I hope to bring this up in Parliament as soon as I am able, in order that tragedies can be prevented in the future.”

The parents, from Red House, also have a son and daughter, Jayden and Ameila.

They added: “Our campaign is to make people aware and make them safe for the millions of people that already have blinds fitted in their homes.

“However, our view is that eventually we need to get rid of them altogether.

“Cordless blinds are sold for next to nothing in some places, so why are manufacturers still producing corded blinds?”

The British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) has also welcomed the For Sophie’s Sake campaign, which building support on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

Director Andrew Chalk said: “We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Sophie Allen in April and welcome any publicity to raise awareness of the danger of blind cords and chain loops, in particular in children’s bedrooms.”

He assured parents that stringent new tests for blind safety devices had come into force from the end of February.

The BBSA set up its own Make it Safe campaign in 2009, which has handed out more than 1.6 million Make it Safe brochures across the country. For more information, visit www.makeitsafe.org.uk.

 

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