Are there hidden dangers in your home? From gates to block stairways and guards to block light sockets, parents with small children usually take the basic precautions to make their home safe, but what about window cords? Older window treatments made before 2001 may not meet the national standard for window cord safety and may have exposed cords which children can get caught in. Children die each year from window cord strangulations and the worst part is – this tragedy is completely preventable.
Window Covering Safety
Any home with small children should opt for child safe window treatments. This typically means cordless shades and blinds. The term “window cords” include not only the ones used for operation, but also cords inside or behind the product. A child can become tangled in exposed cords and risk strangulation.
What can you do? Check all windows to make sure the coverings do not have any exposed, dangling, or looped cords. If they do, either replace the window coverings with new ones that meet recent safety standards, or retrofit the cords to prevent accidents. When installing new window coverings, always choose cordless options.
Here are some quick tips to make sure your home has child safe window treatments.
1. Make sure all window cords are out of the reach of children. Remember children may climb on furniture, beds, and even tables to access cords.
2. Continuous-loop cords should be retrofitted with tie-down devices which permanently anchor the cord to the floor or wall.
3. Tasseled pull cords should be as short as possible and have cord stops installed. Lock cords in position whenever the window covering is lowered.
4. Window treatments with back cords, such as roll-up blinds or Roman shades, should never be installed in rooms that can be accessed by small children. A child can become entangled between the exposed cord and the shade material.
5. If possible, replace all window treatments purchased before 2001.
6. Window coverings with loose or damaged cords should be replaced or repaired immediately.
Retrofitting Window Coverings
While the Window Covering Safety Council recommends replacing all non-child safe window treatments with newer models; if that is not possible, parents can retrofit older window coverings to help reduce the risk of injury. Retrofit kits are available from window treatment stores such as 3 Day Blinds.
Cord Tie-Downs – Vertical blinds and drapes made before 1997 may have continuous-loop cords or chains which need to be secured. Obtain a tie-down device from a window coverings store or a hardware store and attach it to the wall or floor. Make sure the cord is fully extended and securely fit into the tie-down device.
Looped Pull Cords – Mini blinds and pleated shades purchased before 1995 may have dangerous looped pull cords. Simply cut the cords and attach a tassel to each end.
Cord Stops – Blinds and corded shades made before 2001 may have pull cords that require cord stops. Cord stops will keep cords from tightening up if a child becomes entangled.
Protect little ones in your home. Visit 3 Day Blinds to find out more about installing child safe window treatments or retrofitting older window coverings. These simple steps will go a long way towards eliminating the risks of a preventable tragedy.
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