You probably haven’t thought too much about it but blind and curtain cords or chains are a significant risk to children, as unsecured cords can lead to strangulation. There are simple steps you can take when installing blinds or curtains and preparing baby’s sleep area to make sure it’s safe from these hazards.
When you buy
Choose blinds and curtains with safe design features that:
- have warning labels to remind you of dangers to children,
- provide a way to secure cords/chains so there are no loops or strands that children can reach, or
- operate without exposed cords/chains.
Product Safety Australia has produced an installation guide to explain how either a cleat or a cord guide can be installed to keep loose cords secure.
Curtain and blind cord ties, by Product Safety Australia. Installing your blinds and curtain cords correctly may help prevent serious injury or death.
- When installing new blinds and curtains, make sure you or the installer secures any loose or looped cords—do not leave them hanging down.
- If possible, get rid of looped cords by cutting the cord and installing tassels.
- Some blinds can’t operate properly without looped cords. To keep them out of children’s reach you should secure these cords with either:
- tie-downs (cleats) 1600mm above the ground, or
- tension devices that secure cords and chain loops, which can not form a loop of more than 220mm.
- You can get tie-downs and tension devices from hardware or window furnishing stores.
- Always fix tie-downs and tension devices firmly to the wall or window-frame so a child is not able to remove it. Never use materials that can’t support a load, such as double-sided tape or glue.
Safety at home
- Go through every room in your home and check for any blinds or curtains with long cords that are either loose or looped. Remember, this includes any cords within children’s reach at floor level or near furniture they can climb on.
- Do not put children’s cots, beds, highchairs or playpens near a window where children can reach the blind or curtain cords. The cords can get around children’s necks and strangle them while they are playing or sleeping.
- Do not place sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases near windows with corded blinds or curtains. Young children often like to climb onto furniture to look out the window. If they can reach the cords, they may quickly become entangled in them, lose their footing and suffer strangulation or serious injuries.
- Make sure blind and curtain cords are not hanging anywhere within children’s reach. Loose cords can easily wrap around and strangle children who are jumping, playing or climbing nearby.
- If you are living in a rental property, seek help from your landlord or agent to ensure cords and chains are out of reach.
- Always supervise children in any rooms with reachable blind or curtain cords. Accidental strangulation can happen very quickly, so never leave children alone in these rooms, even for a short while.
- Also keep products with electrical cords – such as lamps and monitors – well away from babies’ cots.
Standards and legislation
A mandatory standard for the installation services of window coverings was made into regulation as of 1 January 2015.
More information is available from Product Safety Australia’s website on their cots and cords pages and the blinds and curtain cords safety alert.
Courtesy of the Western Australia Department of Commerce.