Sophia's Cause gathers momentum as calls to ban deadly blinds grow
AMANDA O'Halloran's campaign to ban looped blind cords in homes across the UK has already received heartfelt messages of support.
Started in memory of her 17-month-old daughter Sophia Parslow, it aims to outlaw the hanging cords which come with many blinds due to the risk of entanglement and strangulation they pose to toddlers.
Sophia died earlier this year after she got her head stuck in one such cord – losing consciousness within seconds.
The campaign, called Sophia's Cause, includes a Facebook page and an online petition which could force the issue to be debated in parliament if it gathers 100,000 names.
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Sophia is the 28th person known to have been strangled in this way in the UK since 1999.
Amanda, who grew up in Cheltenham and attended St Benedict's School, said it was time to put a stop to the "silent killer" once and for all.
The 22-year-old hotel receptionist said: "I don't know why, with all the different designs that are on the market and modern technology available, cord blinds are still being sold at all.
"They pose such a big risk to toddlers because they're within reach and children at a certain age are always trying to grab hold of things.
"It's a silent killer. When Sophia died there weren't any shouts or screams.
"She just got her head stuck in the loop and fell over. At that age a child's windpipe isn't fully formed and so the airway closes with much less resistance.
"She would have been unconscious within seconds.
"I want to take away that risk by getting these kind of blinds banned. What happened to her could happen to anyone of that age."
Safety devices are sold with most blinds in major retailers.
They include cleats to tie the cord to the wall, keeping it taut, and chain-break connectors which will pull apart when undue pressure is applied.
But the onus is on the person fitting the blinds to make sure they are applied correctly.
Amanda added: "The safety devices end up gathering dust in the cupboard for many people.
"Why not just get rid of this form of blind altogether?
"It would be the only safe way to ensure that this never happens again."
Sophia's Cause had already gathered more than 280 names on the ePetition when the Echo went to press last night, and the Facebook page had nearly 1,000 'likes'.
Amanda added: "It means everything to us to get the word out about how dangerous these blinds can be to as many people as possible."