There are a lot of things around our homes that can pose a danger to our precious babes. We cover our electrical outlets and install cabinet locks. We switch from harsh cleaners to less abrasive, natural cleaning products. Our kiddos have properly fitting bike helmets and we install the car seats carefully. We take our children’s safety seriously. But what about our window blinds?
Hanging, dangling blind cords, chains and loops can pose a strangulation hazard to children. In fact, window coverings are one of the top ten hidden hazards in our homes today. To eliminate this hazard, simply replace all of the cord operated blinds in your house with cordless operated blinds. Right?
Replacing the blinds is one option. But, if you’re like me, you can’t just run out and do that. Thankfully, there are ways to keep our children safer around blinds with cords. The biggest thing to remember with cord safety is that we have to keep the cords away from and out of curious little hands.
First of all, never place a crib or child’s bed near a window with corded blinds or shades. Our children can be pretty creative about reaching things they want to touch and hold. Consider furniture placement in bedrooms and play areas so that kids won’t have access to the blinds.
An Easy Solution
If you have blinds that operate by pulling on cords, the easiest and best thing you can do is install cord cleats. Cleats screw to the wall, and you simply wrap the blind cord around them. Be sure to install them high enough that your children cannot reach them. Living in a rental or a place where you don’t want to drill into your walls? These stick on cleats work great, too. Or consider this device that attaches right to the blind cord and not to your wall. It retracts the cord sort of like an adjustable pet leash.
Another way to keep cords away from kids is to shorten them. With the blinds in the fully lowered position, trim the cords to the shortest length possible where you can still reach them. Even if you shorten the cords, be sure to use a cleat.
Also, leave each cord hanging separately. If your blinds have a device that joins the cords together, consider removing it. That piece, called a condenser, actually creates a dangerous loop where the multiple strings enter into it on the top. Separating the cords is safer.
If your blinds operate by pulling on a continuous loop of cord or chain, be sure to fasten the loop down securely to the wall, window trim or floor with a tension device. If the tension device comes loose from the wall, reinstall it immediately. Some of the loops can look like a pretty necklace to try on. Making sure it is tied down tightly can prevent little hands from getting hold of it and slipping it around their neck.
There are two simple things you can bring along with you when you’re away from home to keep your children safer around the window coverings in hotels and relative’s homes. Pack a few twist-ties and binder clips and use them to wind up the cord and loops so kids cannot reach them. These removable cord winders work great for traveling, too.
For more information on this subject, visit the following websites:
October is National Window Covering Safety Month.
Gretchen has worked at Fix My Blinds, Inc for almost 12 years, has extensive industry knowledge, and knows how to repair all types of blinds & shades. She’s an expert in child safety for window coverings.