Mini Blind Safety Tips For your Home

As a parent we are always vigilant in watching and keeping our children safe. There are things as parents that we need to be aware of, that cause potential harm to our children that we never think of as safety issues. Wndo blinds and their cords are one of them. There are several things to know and doo to keep you children safe from harm in regards to window blinds.

Window coverings are one of the products most frequently associated with strangulation of children under age five. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council are aware of at least 161 deaths since 1991 from children becoming entangled in the cords of window coverings. The younger victims, usually between 10 to 15 months of age, typically are in cribs which have been placed near window covering pull cords. Although a few older children, usually from two to four years old, find cords hanging near the floor, most of these victims become entangled in cords while climbing on furniture to look out the window.

Entanglement and strangulation can occur when a child is alone in a room for only a short time. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission strongly recommends you repair or replace mini blinds and other corded window coverings purchased before 2001 with safer products now available. Christopher Lowell, the spokesman for the CPSC on window coverings, recorded a Public Service Announcement explaining the hazards of window coverings for children. Since 1995, the window coverings industry has been focused on creating products that are safe for children.

You, as a parent can benefit from that effort. For years, there has been a cord stop on most products to ensure that the inner cords on horizontal blinds cannot be pulled far enough to be looped around a childs neck and cause possible strangulation. There are also have individual cords instead of loops on standard head rail systems, and cord cleats for these cords to tie around, instead of hanging loose. For continuous cord loop head rail systems and for vertical blinds, there is a tension pulley system which is mounted to the wall or window sill to hold the cords taught and prevent children from getting entangled in them. Read and follow carefully the installation instructions shipped with blinds.

They contain a warning regarding the possible hazards of young children and the cords of the product. Todays window covering products need just a few, simple adjustments to make them safer for young children. The CPSC and the Window Covering Safety Council urge parents to eliminate the looping two-corded horizontal blinds, pleated and cellular shades, as well as vertical blinds and draperies with continuous loop systems. 3 Day Blinds offers horizontal and vertical retrofit kits at no charge, both in our showrooms and online. You can also download the instructions for retrofitting horizontal and vertical blinds online.

Keep all windows covering cords out of the reach of children. Unless the cords can be completely removed from a child's reach, the CPSC recommends against knotting or tying the cords together which creates a new loop for a child to become entangled. When ordering window coverings, try to get the shortest cords possible. For blinds and draperies which require a continuous loop to function properly, use a cord cleat to fasten the pulley to the wall or window casing. Never put a crib or young childs bed near a window. Even if you have guards on the windows, the temptation to investigate cords from hanging window coverings is strong for a young child.

Because young children climb, never put a chair, sofa, bench or even a bookcase near a window with a dangling cord. Children can climb on furniture, play with cords or chains and could become entangled.

Joyce Jackson is a safety expert and consultant in northern California. For her latest book and information see Keeping Kids Safe.


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