When there are little children in a house, one of the most recurring fears is associated with the cords that allow window blinds to move.
In UK there are strong guidelines to guarantee that these cords and chains are fixed and unreachable for children.
The British Blind and shutter Association, in collaboration with “Make It Safe”, produced a video to increase the awareness of people on the topic.
European legislators are also putting a lot of attention towards the safety of window treatments.
European community as began a process of revision of the European standards about the normes currently in use and that already include specific attention towards the safety of products such as cord blinds.
A suitable addition to a product recently purchased is the installation of safety systems complementing the product, such as cord blocks and and safety tensioners.
Guidelines UNI EN 13120/2014 – internal blinds performance and safety
In some European countries, producers are not required to mark their products according to European regulation n. 305/2011.
However, producers are still required to respect the indications of the legislation UNI EN 13120:2014 about the performance and safety of their blind especially in these cases:
“protection from strangulation hazard” for internal blinds and mosquito nets;
“protection from crushing” for motorized models;
The European regulation outlining the risk of strangulations and describing the safety systems available are the following:
- EN 16433:2014 Internal blinds: Protection from strangulation hazards. Test methods;
UNI EN 16434:2014 Internal blinds: Protection from strangulation hazards – Requirements and test methods for safety devices.
If you are looking into solutions to protect your children from blind cords rest assure that there are many precautions that you can take.
Let’s take a look at them…
Why blinds cords are dangerous
The majority of death correlated to blind cords happened in the bedrooms and involved children between 16 and 36 months.
During this period of time kids are particularly vulnerable because they start moving freely but their heads are still slightly disproportionate compared to their bodies.
Moreover the neck muscles are not completely developed yet and their trachea is less strong then an adult’s one; these are the main reasons why they are more at risk of suffocating.
These are also the reasons why it is very important to respect safety standards and guidelines.
What are the safety systems available
Before taking a look at the safety systems that you can introduce in our homes to avoid that Venetian blinds cords becoming a risk, let’s see the child safety systems already available.
There are two main types of safety systems:
- Integrated safety systems: they’re already developed within the blind systems and do not require any additional installations. They are devices such as connectors that will facilitate the breaking of a chain when strongly pulled.
Additional safety systems: they need to be purchased or installed on a window blind. In the majority of the cases these are useful with old models of blinds to conform them to regulations standards. They can be tension systems and they will assure that the cords are not freely hanging or may be devices that can keep cables out of the reach of children.
Let’s now take a look at other precautions to protect children from Venetian blind cords.
Safety advices for venetian blinds cords
Below a few additional safety advices to protect your kids, making more difficult for them to reach Venetian blinds.
- Be aware when they play around Venetian blinds: it may sound like a patronising advice but a simple moment of distraction can be very dangerou sometimes.
If you buy a second-hand blind, manufactured before the new safety legislations were implemented, make sure that you also buy an additional safety device.
Do not place cots, childbeds, travel beds or high chairs near a blind with free chords.
Make sure that furniture and chairs are within a safety distance from the blinds as kids love to climb.
Do not simply put the cord behind the blind as kids can easily reach it through the slats.
Do not give for granted that you were child is too old to remaining tangled with a cord – even kids as old as eight have had serious accidents with Venetian blinds cords.
Beside all this precautions, you should also consider the purchase of blinds that have already integrated safety systems like double glazing Venetian blinds or motorised blinds that don’t need cords thanks to their innovative control systems.
Also, a few devices for the installations of Venetian blinds are provided with Child Safety systems.