Cordless Blinds And Shades And Child Safety
If you have a young child in your home, you should be using cordless blinds and shades. Why? More than 200 infants and young children have died because of being accidentally strangled by a window cord since 1990. This information is from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. A JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) article reports that this number may be higher because of under reporting of deaths. So about once a month a child dies from window covering cord strangulation.
The point is, why risk your child’s life when there are many options available for cordless blinds and shades? You should also know what precautions to take if you want to keep your corded blinds and shades.
What Makes a Blind Cordless?
Like most blinds and shades used for a window treatment, the cordless versions are used primarily to keep the sunlight from entering your home. This can help you save on your cooling bill and prevent furniture from fading. What makes the cordless version different is that they do not use a cord or a pulley system to move the blinds or shades up and down.
Using a spring action, these blinds and shades work by allowing you push up the bottom of the shade to let more light in or pull down on the bottom of the shade to block the light. Cordless mini blinds or Venetian blinds can similarly be adjusted up or down. Some models even work with remote controls that let you raise or lower the blinds or shades.
Cordless Blind and Shade Benefits
Obviously, one of the key benefits of this type mechanism is child safety. Children are curious. They reach up, they crawl, they climb. It is easier than you think for a moving baby to find a loose cord and end up in trouble. Eliminating the window covering cord helps eliminate this risk.
And don’t forget about the safety of your pets. Cats and puppies can decide to play with the cord which can get them caught, or worse, bring the blind or shade down on top of them.
A blind or shade without a cord also presents a clean, streamlined look for your window treatment. There’s no hanging cords to distract from the décor. And cordless blinds come in a variety of color options.
Retrofitting Older Window Coverings
Since November of 2000, window blinds have attachments on the pull cords so that if the inner cords are pulled by a young child they can’t form a loop. If you have blinds purchased prior to November, 2000 you can get a free repair kit. (See Links below.) The repair kit includes a small plastic attachment. This prevents the inner cords from being pulled loose.
Included in the kit are safety tassels for blinds. These are for blinds made before 1995 that had outer pull cords that ended in loops.
Other retrofitting safety measures to take include:
- Installing cord stops. These go on window blind inner cords. They help by preventing a child from pulling these inner cords through the blind slats.
- Install tie-down devices that keep the cords tight, thus preventing them from forming a dangerous loop.
Other Safety Precautions
There are other precautions you should take when you have children and blinds and shades with cords.
- If the room a child lives or plays in has a window shade with a cord, move his or her toys, bed or crib or other furniture away from the wall with the corded shade.
- Make sure all the window cords are kept out of the reach of children.
- As you do with hot stoves, teach your child that playing with the window cord is a “No-no!”
Child Safety Information
- Window Covering Safety Council - Safety Information and Free Cord-Repair Kits
WCSC provides consumer information and free safety kits for childproofing window cords and preventing accidental child strangulation. Safety tips and how-to illustrations are featured online.
Using cordless shades and blinds is both an effective and attractive way to prevent your child or pet from accidental strangulation.