Blinds – Safety Features To Look Out For

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It is always upsetting to hear of a child passing away, what’s worse is hearing that it happened in the “safety” of their own home in an avoidable circumstance.  Since the early 1990s at least 15 young Australian children have tragically died as a result of unfortunate strangulation incidents involving blind cords & chains.

Most at risk are children under 3 years of age left alone bedrooms and common areas where loose blinds and curtain cord/chains are within reach.The most likely dangers which can lead a child to loop over the cords over their head or get tangled in loose cords occurs when:

  • Sleeping in a cot or bed where cords are hanging
  • Playing near cords
  • Sitting on a window ledge, standing on a chair, sofa or bed to look out of a window.

How to prevent an accident:

  • Make sure that all blind operating cords and chains cannot be reached by children.
  • When buying a new blind always look for one that does not contain cords, has concealed cords or has an in-built safety device.
  • Move highchair or playpen, cots, beds and any furniture away from curtains and blinds.
  • Do not place table, sofas, chairs, shelves or bookcases near a window blind, as children love to climb upon.
  • Always make sure all windows blind cords and chains are kept secured and out of reach by children.
  • The accessible cords that run through some blinds can also pose a risk to children in that it may be possible to form a loop.

For safety and peace of mind make sure your blinds comply.  After market safety devices are readily available and easy to install.

Cleat: This device must be firmly fixed to an adjacent wall, and should be kept out of the reach of children, and the cord or chain secured with it after each operation of the blind.

Cord or Chain Tidys: These devices are fixed to an adjacent wall and the window blind cords or chains are held permanently taut by the device.

Chain-break connector: These will break apart once excessive pressure is applied to the operating window blind chain.

Safety Regulations for Corded Internal Window Coverings

As a result of these unfortunate incidents, a compulsory standard for internal blinds, curtains and window fittings (corded internal window coverings) was declared on 8 July 2010 and applies to relevant blinds, curtains and fittings supplied after 30 December 2010.

Briefly the legislation states that to avoid creating a possible strangulation hazard for children, the corded internal window covering must be installed in such a way that a loose cord cannot form a loop 220 mm or longer at a height of less than 1600 mm above floor level.

In respect to chain operated roller blinds, if the chain is at a height less than 1600 mm above the floor a tension device needs to be installed, to enclose the chain, or a cleat installed above 1600 mm.

For more detail see the relevant product safety guide: http://www.productsafety.gov.au/products/home-living/home-furnishings/blinds-curtains