If you have young children in your household, their safety is of paramount importance. Whilst you may have carried out thorough child-proofing throughout your home, one aspect that can often be overlooked is your blinds – more specifically, their cord/chain operating mechanism.
New blinds have to meet certain safety requirements since updated health and safety legislation was introduced in 2014. Blinds now have to be ‘safe by design’, meaning that their operating systems have been designed to ensure they don’t pose a hazard to young children. However, this only applies to blinds manufactured after the legislation came into effect. There are, therefore, a lot of blinds already installed in homes across the country which don’t meet the latest safety standards. To combat this, the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) launched the ‘make it safe’ campaign with the aim to increase the awareness of the risks blinds can pose and to encourage people to adapt their current blinds to make them safer.
How do cords pose a risk?
The operating mechanism of blinds is what poses the risk. Traditionally, blinds are opened and closed using a loop of cord or chain and it is this long, dangling loop that poses a strangulation risk to young children. Toddlers, who are old enough to be mobile but unlikely to be able to free themselves if they become tangled, are most at risk. If children become entangled, there can be dire consequences and indeed there are many tragic cases of fatalities.
How to make existing blinds safe for children
The ‘make it safe’ campaign advice highlights that considered placement of a child’s cot, highchair and playpen can help to keep them away from windows with potentially dangerous cords. However, the best way to make your existing blinds safe with young kids around is to install a simple blind safety device. The three main options of device are:
- Cleat: this simple device keeps the cord out of reach for small children. The cleat is attached to the wall next to your blind, at least 1.5 metres off the ground. The blind cords are wrapped in a figure 8 around the cleat to keep them out of the way of curious kids.
- Tensioner: this device is attached towards the bottom of the window recess and the cord is looped through it. This keeps the loop narrow and taut, keeping it from being easily played with and preventing it from posing a risk.
- Cord/chain breakers: these devices are installed as part of the cord/chain and will break the loop if pressure is applied, preventing strangulation from occuring. If the loop does get broken, the device can just be reconnected to form the continuous operating cord again.
UK Blinds Direct offer a wide range of ‘safe by design’ blinds and can also retrofit safety devices for existing blinds to ensure they meet current health and safety standards. It is a priority of ours that as well as being attractive, our high quality bespoke blinds are safe to use. Get in touch with our helpful team today to discuss your requirements with one of our experts. We regularly serve customers throughout Sheffield and Rotherham.