Parents of new-born babies and very young children are on constant watch for dangerous situations that could cause harm. Cots, prams, car seats, clothing and toys are just a few of the everyday items that need to be checked for suitability. Smothering or choking hazards are the most common dangers for the very young, but once the little ones are crawling, climbing and taking their first steps, the whole house is a potential danger zone.
Obvious hazards such as a staircase without a barrier, a bath tub half filled with water or an unshielded heat source should be visible enough to act as an alert. However, there are many other hazards that seem harmless until a child is injured or worse.
Loose Cords and Chains Cause Tragic Deaths
This is the case with cords and chains that dangle from window blinds as part of the operating mechanism. Would it surprise you to know that in Australia, since the early 1990s, at least 15 young children have been strangled in window blind cords or chains? These tragic deaths prompted the introduction of national mandatory safety standards in January 2011.
Mandatory Standards and Regulations Introduced to Reduce Hazard
It has been several years since the introduction of these standards, but at Blind Concepts we believe there is no room for complacency. Our company works hard to make our blind products as safe as possible. We ensure that all our products and installations conform to industry and government standards and regulations.
The Role of Parents and Carers
Parents and carers can also take their own steps to protect their children. As anyone who has cared for the very young knows, they have little awareness of danger. They would not realise that a cord or chain looped around their neck will tighten if they roll over in play, climb or fall onto the floor, and once tightened, they cannot cry out or remove it by themselves.
Legislative Requirements for Removing the Hazard
Check blinds and curtain cords anywhere you are staying with your children, including holiday accommodation. Tie cords up away from reach and move cots, beds and other furniture away from windows. At home, secure loose cords permanently out of reach by installing cleats or tensioning devices, which can be bought at most hardware stores.
Legislation requires these devices to be fixed at a minimum height of 1.6 metres from the floor. They must be secured so they will not fail under load, making double-sided tape, glue or other temporary methods completely inappropriate. The tension on the cord or chain should be tight enough to prevent a child’s head from fitting through it.
Even though time has passed since the standards became mandatory, many households have not upgraded and will still have the old corded mechanisms in place. When it comes to rentals, owners and real estates should be aware of the legislations too. Any rental owner that would like like the compliancy of the blinds checked can contact our team for inspections and repairs at a minimal cost.
If you are at all concerned about your blinds, give us a call.