What You Can Do To Keep Your Window Blinds Safe

Have you ever scanned the front of your home only to recognise that your window blinds are letting down the rest of the façade? So, what happened to these blinds that looked so smart and pristine when they were new? It turns out that most blinds are damaged by just a few common occurrences.

Too much Sunshine is Brutal for Window Blinds

Here in Australia the biggest culprit is sun damage. It is obvious really, since the main reason we cover our windows with blinds is to protect our interiors from unwanted sunlight and ultraviolet rays. Sun damage presents itself as faded, discoloured and weakened blind material, resulting in cracks, splits and tears.

Sun damage is hard to prevent because our windows are exposed 24/7. However, there are fade-resistant materials available that block out up to 95 per cent of ultraviolet rays. Not only will the use of these materials extend the life of your blinds, but they will also keep the interior cooler than standard materials.

Mould and Mildew Thrive in High Humidity

Mould and mildew are prime candidates for causing damage to blinds in wet areas such as bathrooms and other locations with high humidity levels. It is easy to overlook mould on blinds where they are obscured by heavy curtains. Undetected, it spreads quickly on plastic or wooden blinds and other porous surfaces, damaging their structural integrity.

If the damage is not too severe, the blinds can be cleaned then sealed to prevent a recurrence. Replacement blinds should be made of materials such as a combination of PVC and polyester, then checked and cleaned regularly.

Four-Legged Chaos

There is nothing like dogs or cats for providing companionship and unconditional love to their owners. However, until they are trained, your adorable puppy or kitten may use the cords and pull chains on the side of your blinds as playthings. Cats also like to climb and scratch their claws on surfaces such as window coverings. Vigorous playing sessions have been known to leave curtains and blinds in broken and shredded piles on the floor

Prevention in the form of quality, consistent training, and lots of active time outdoors when you are home could prevent damaging your window blinds. Distracting toys like scratching posts for cats and chew toys for dogs will keep them occupied while you are out.

If this information comes too late to save your window treatments, our repair process at Blind Concepts restores the quality of damaged blinds. We replace slats and slat hangers, resew slats and replace chains, cords or wands. We also have a cleaning service that restores the quality of blinds that need deep cleaning.

Look for Australian Standards When Choosing Blinds

Has the time come to replace those tired, old window blinds with bright and modern new ones? Have you checked the internet, looked through magazines and watched the latest home improvement programs for ideas and colour schemes? Perhaps you have already made some style choices, but have you based these choices on fashion only, or did you consider other aspects like functionality, and more importantly, safety?

Mandatory Standards Ensure Product Safety

Every blind manufacturer wants to create a product that is popular with the public and which sells well. They put a lot of effort into design so their blinds are practical, and they use materials and colours that look good. Now, there are mandatory standards in place to ensure that they are also safe to use in the average household.

This is something we are aware of as a provider of blind cleaning, repair and replacement services. At Blind Concepts, we offer an alternative to spending a lot of money on fully replacing your blinds. We restore damaged blinds by replacing slats and slat hangers, resewing where necessary and replacing chains, cords or wands.

New Rules for Labelling, Packaging and Installation

The Competition and Consumer (Corded Internal Window Coverings) Safety Standard 2014 came into effect on 1 January 2015 and this applies to all corded internal window coverings supplied from 31 December 2010. Now, there are requirements for the labelling and packaging of these types of blinds, as well as the installation.

Specific Measures Designed to Prevent Accidents

Corded internal window coverings must be installed so that a loose cord cannot form a loop 220mm or longer at or less than 1600 mm above floor level. A cleat used to secure a cord must also be installed at least 1600mm above floor level. These requirements are to prevent a repeat of several tragic instances of babies and toddlers who lost their lives when caught in these cords.

Anyone installing a corded internal window covering must label it with the name and contact details of the installation company and must not remove any warning label or swing tag supplied with the product.

Not the Only Standards and Regulations

These are not the only manufacturing and installation standards and regulations that apply to window coverings. All of us working in this industry must ensure we know what is expected of us to provide the best products and services to our customers.

Don’t Throw Out Compliant Blinds

If you have blinds that meet all these standards but they look shabby, think carefully before you decide to replace them with what could be an inferior product. Well-made blinds respond well to both our restoration and ultrasonic cleaning processes. If your existing blinds are compliant, we can have them looking awesome at a fraction of the cost of new ones.

Young Children at Risk of Accidents With Blind Cords

No caring parent would leave poisons accessible to very small children, or have an unfenced pool in their back yard. They put hazardous substances out of the reach of children and install a regulation pool fence. They also make sure that they have Australian standard, age appropriate child seats and restraints in their vehicles and keep their little ones away from busy roads and other dangers.

Strangulation the Main Risk to Young Children

Why then, has it taken us so long to become aware of the danger of some types of window blinds to very young children? Since 2001, there have been at least 21 deaths of young children in Australia, who were strangled when they became entangled in loose blind and curtain cords.

Follow the Safety and Installation Instructions

Following a public awareness campaign and new regulations requiring all blinds sold in Australia to have warning labels and safety features, the number of accidents reduced. However, every death is still one too many. With a little thought and effort, these tragedies are completely avoidable.

Unless the safety instructions are followed when the window blinds are installed, children remain in danger. This is an issue that is very much in our minds when we install replacement or repaired blinds for a client. At Blind Concepts, we do our part to minimise the danger, as the repair of bottom chains, cords and wands are part of our service.

Check every Window in any New Dwelling

For example, when a family moves into a new dwelling, we recommend that the adults check every room for blinds or curtains where cords are dangling loose. This also includes holiday accommodation, as everything there is unfamiliar. Secure loose cords with tie-downs or other devices that can be purchased very cheaply from any hardware store.

Move Furniture Away from the Hazard

Sometimes the solution is as easy as rearranging the furniture. Little ones who have just learnt to stand love testing their skills by grabbing playpen or cot rails and reaching up to anything that looks interesting. Blind cords moving in the breeze will attract their attention and if they can reach them, the danger is immediate.

Check Out the Other Options

There are several other options available to the home owner. One is a cordless blind that is raised and lowered manually, and locks into place when hand pressure is removed from the bottom rail. Another is a retractable pull cord that retracts to a pre-set position, inaccessible to the younger age group who is at the greatest risk.

For those who want to dispose of cords altogether, wands are an excellent solution. A single plastic rod replaces the chain and/or cord, is non-intrusive and easy to use. However, the best protection comes from choosing blinds from reputable companies like ours that comply with safety requirements.

Can Window Blinds Be A Hazard To Very Young Children?

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.

Child Safety a Must around Internal Window Covering Cords

national standards on internal window covering cords.
If you have blinds in your home or are intending to install blinds in your home, it is essential to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding their compliance with new national laws.

After concerns were raised regarding looped cords, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) introduced regulations to ensure small children were not in danger.

In July 2010, mandatory standards were introduced to ensure maximum safety. The most essential part of this standard refers to corded internal window coverings.

The bottom of any blind or curtain cord should be at least 160cm above the floor. This can be achieved by adding a safety tensioning device or installing a hook high enough to loop cords out of harm’s way. You can now also purchase a wand instead of a cord to operate blinds.

It is important to note that it is a property owner’s responsibility to ensure these standards are met if internal window coverings have been supplied as part of a tenancy.

Reliable and Reputable Service

When it comes to safe and secure blinds installation, Blind Concepts have got you and the law covered.

Established in 1999 the company is devoted to providing sales and service excellence whilst maintaining a sound knowledge of the trends, rules, and regulations of the industry.

The range of blinds is diverse and includes:

• Vertical blinds

• Roman blinds

• Venetian blinds including aluminum, wood composite, and cedar

• Timber blinds

• Holland blinds

• Wood weave blinds

• Oriental, plain, or exposed batten

• Cedar both lacquered and oiled

• Wood composite

• 50mm timber look finish (polyresin)

Not Just a Replacement Service

Blind Concepts are also able to offer cleaning services to blinds using environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and minimal water.

Maintenance restoration to old or damaged blinds is also a specialty. We have a wide range of parts and accessories to suit most styles of blinds thus offering “new” blinds to you at a fraction of the cost and reducing the amount of rubbish going into landfill.

When thinking blinds, new or restored, think Blind Concepts and visit http://blindconcepts.net.au/