What is more important than the safety of your little ones? According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 200 children have died in the United States since 1981 by strangulation from window treatment cords. Cords are not the only danger that window blinds can pose. Make your window treatments kid-proof by following these simple suggestions. One small change can prevent tragedy.
1. Never place cribs or furniture near a window.
Child guards are not enough to protect a curious child from playing with that dangling string near his crib or bed. Children who can walk and crawl are at the most risk because they are not yet agile, yet they can climb onto furniture without being able to climb back down. Never leave an easy-to-move chair under or near a window with a corded blind. Even small ottomans pose a threat. Ensure that these pieces of furniture are far away and hard to move.
2. Keep all cords out of reach, no matter how safe you think they might be.
Put all cords on cleats, which are hooks that screw into the wall. You can wrap the cord around the cleat to secure and prevent it from posing a danger.
3. Lose the loops on two-cord horizontal blinds.
Snip the cord right above the tassel and remove the equalizer buckle (if there is one). Add a new tassel on to each string (there will be two now). You can also choose a safety breakaway tassel, which snaps apart when any type of weight or force is applied to it. Though many companies no longer sell two-cord systems for safety reasons, check with your vendor ahead of time to see if this is the case. Most blinds no longer have a two-cord system, but if your blinds are more than five years old, look into this.
4. Check for lead paint.
Lead paint is extremely high in VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and is rarely used on blinds anymore. Lead itself is also toxic, if ingested. If your blinds are on the older side, there is a chance lead paint was used. As paint degrades over time, it turns to dust which settles in your home, on food, on clothes, and on things children chew on. Purchase an in-home lead test kit from your local hardware store to be sure. Before buying blinds, especially aluminum mini blinds, speak to your vendor and be assured that no lead paint is used. Even trace amounts can be hazardous – even fatal – if ingested.
5. When buying new blinds, go cordless.
The best way to keep kids out of danger is to use blinds that have no cords at all. Cordless blinds are your safest bet and will give you peace of mind to leave your child home with a sitter or let him play unsupervised.
Don’t risk the lives of your children by giving them easy access to window cords. Make these simple adjustments to protect your little ones and make your home safer. For more information about window blind safety, contact The Window Covering Safety Council or Blinds.com.