4 Child Safe Window Covering Options on the Market

There are two things that go together about as well as chalk and cheese. These are children and blinds. The combination of these two is a recipe for disaster, and don’t we all have at least one story from when we were a kid, where we or our sibling broke a window covering by accident.

When you think about ‘child safe’ window coverings, you may be imagining some new fandangle thing that has been created just for this purpose. But the reality is that the main things that might make blinds unsafe for kids are the cords, ropes and pulleys. Basically, child proofing your window treatments is a case of choosing window coverings that they cannot get tangled up in, or that won’t fall down on top of them. The window treatments that are cordless or have cordless options are your best bet. Read on for some of the window coverings that are child safe.

Horizontal Cordless Wooden Blinds

When we talk about wooden blinds, we are actually talking about the ones that you probably already have at home in at least one of the rooms in your house, although this version is a cordless one. As we all know, most kids are like inquisitive scientists who are intent of discovering what things are made of, how they work and how they break.

Our job is to protect them as best we can, by providing coverings and furnishings that do not endanger them in their exploration of the world around them. Cordless wooden blinds, due to having a sturdy, long lasting counterweight system, can be pulled up and down without having a cord, which makes them great looking, and great for kids.

Plantation Shutters

These are another type of wooden blind with horizontal cordless slats which can be adjusted up or down to allow however much sunlight you require in the room. A great choice for people with kids, as they are child friendly.

Roller Shades

The idea of roller shades may conjure up memories of begone times, but the times are evolving and roller shades are having a come back with new styles. They can be customised to suit any décor, and are available in both the cordless variety, and motorised variety for a sleek, techy way to raise and lower your blinds.

Cordless Controlled Blinds

The latest innovations in blind technology bring you the cordless controlled blinds, which can be automated to be voice activated, or activated through your mobile phone, or a retractable wand version. All of these different styles are child friendly, with no cord to ensnare an unsuspecting child.

Which Blinds are Best for Allergies?

Suffering from allergies can take a whole lot of the fun out of your life if there is a flare up. Usually this occurs when we travel to foreign areas or go close to places where there are chemicals or other smells in the air, or pollens that we don’t usually encounter.

However, there are times when our allergies can be irritated by items around our home, which means we need to find some way of preventing this from happening, so we can enjoy our special place. One area that can impact how much our allergies are affected at home is the type of blind that we have installed.

Avoid Horizontal Dust Collectors

For people who suffer from allergies, dust and dust mites can become a real problem. Therefore, blinds that collect the least dust will be the best choice of blind for people who suffer from allergies. Essentially, almost any blind that has horizontal slats with rows of horizontal surfaces for dust to collect are going to become the worst enemy for someone with allergies.

Having said that, slatted horizontal blinds that are wiped clean very regularly, have a much better chance of not causing allergic reactivity. Blinds such as Venetian, wood or faux wood with slats, are the kind that tend to attract dust to their surfaces, so these must be avoided.

Vertical Blinds are the Best

When it comes to dust accumulation, vertical blinds are going to prevent a lot of build-up of dust, which, in turn, will assist in preventing allergic reactions. However, the type of material that the blind is made of will make a big difference as to how much dust accumulates.

Blinds made of a single sheet of fabric or a sheer fabric will be more likely to not hold the dust, which can prevent dust mites from setting up residence too.

Where Do Dust Mites Live?

Dust mites generally will live on any kind of soft furnishing or fabric, such as mattresses, quilts, lounge, pillow and some clothing. When it comes to blinds, they will be more likely to live on fabric blinds made from non-waterproof fabrics. So any kind of fabric that is non-waterproof could become a home base for dust mites.

Of course, they cannot live on blinds made of hard materials such as aluminium or wood. Regular cleaning of blinds will go a long way towards keeping surfaces free from dust and dust mites.

Blind Concepts has a cleaning and maintenance service, which can assist with keeping blinds clear of dust and grime, so talk to us today about how we can help.

How Window Blinds Can Reduce Allergies to Airborne Triggers

When it comes to allergic reactions to airborne triggers, we might imagine that life would be easier if we just lived in our own private bubble of air and did not have to interact with the world outside. This would definitely solve some of our problems, however, we would not have all those wonderful experiences that come with interacting with the world around us, even if it is pretty dusty.

As we have seen recently on the news sites, chemical contaminants can become airborne during emergency situations, which could be a dangerous reality for people who are susceptible to allergic reactions. Additionally, there are other every-day factors which can contribute to allergic reactions. Whether there is an airborne chemical event, or you simply want to reduce your exposure to regular airborne triggers, your household blinds can assist with creating that bubble.

Reduce Dust from Getting Inside

For people who suffer from allergic rhinitis, or seasonal allergies of any kind, every day dust entering through the windows can become a formidable adversary. Installing blinds over windows can greatly reduce the amount of dust that is able to enter into the house, which could assist with having to deal with the triggering of allergies.

Trap Dust in a Barrier

By using this method of trapping the dust at the windows before it is able to enter the house, you are able to create a barrier of sorts which if maintained, could prevent dust from entering into the main house. Regular cleaning of the dust barrier (the blind) will mean that it is able to maintain that role of preventing dust from entering the home, while being a catchment area for the dust to be removed from.

Regulate Temperatures

Another great advantage of blinds in assisting with reducing allergic reactions is by regulating the temperatures. For some people allergies can be made worse by hot or cold weather, however the blind can regulate that temperature while allowing some air through. If a house hold has a particular window that allows direct sunlight through during some periods of the day, this could prove to be an issue affecting those who have allergies that are triggered by hot or cold temperatures.

Made to Measure

Blinds that are made specifically to suit your window size and shape will provide a strong barrier system for the dust to be caught from entering to the rest of the house. At Blind Concepts we provide a cleaning and maintenance service for blinds as well as replacement of broken slats and whole blinds where needed.

Are Window Blinds Dangerous for Your Cat?

Unlike dogs, who will likely not attempt to look out of windows that are behind blinds, cats are extremely curious, and will want to know what is on the other side. As a result, depending on what sort of blind you have on your windows, there may be a chance that your curious cat will get themselves into trouble. Whether or not the blinds are dangerous for your cat, or the other way around, is another factor to consider.

Due to cats’ ability to go about their business as they please, without regard for anyone or anything that is in their way, often blinds will suffer from their exuberance. There are some types of blinds that are a better choice for cats, so read on for more information about how the different styles of blinds measure up against a cat.

If all else fails and you have already experienced your cat destroying your blinds, Blind Concepts provide a service for cleaning, repairing and replacing broken blinds.

Roller Blinds

Roller blinds might seem like the best choice for any situation as they have a simple design, no hooks or chains and are easy to use, however, unfortunately, they are not the best choice with cats. Without a second thought, a cat will use the fabric on the roller blind to climb up, while chasing insects, or stretching, which will cause holes in the fabric. The type of fabric being used is also important to consider with the issue of cat fur, which will need cleaning regularly.

Vertical Blinds

Horizontal versus vertical blinds.

As you can imagine, horizontal blinds will not work well with cats, as they will likely crash into them when attempting to view something they have seen on the other side. However, vertical blinds allow for the cat to see past the blinds to whatever has piqued their interest on the other side. Cats will naturally be attracted to the swinging of the vertical panels, and could happily spend a lot of time with this activity alone.

The main issue with vertical blinds is that if they have the chains on them, then it is very likely that the cat will either get tangled in them, or break them, so you may need to reattach the chains over and over. With these blinds, there is also the issue of fabric being damaged by the cat.

Venetian Blinds

Like other blinds, the most important factor in the longevity of your venetian blinds is the material. Metal venetian blinds will not last too long with an exuberant cat, as they will likely become bent over time. The other factor would be to do with the cords and whether they are dangling in a cat attractive fashion.

Child-friendly cords can alleviate this problem too. The most hard-wearing material for cats is wooden blinds, and in the venetian blind style they will generally last the best.

 

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.

Dangers To Children Are Often In The Home

Most householders do their best to keep the environment around them reasonably clean and tidy, both inside and outside. After all, no one wants to live in a rubbish tip, with all the inherent health hazards that would involve. What we often forget, however, is that not all dirt, rubbish and grime is immediately visible.

What We Don’t Notice Often Causes Problems Later

We do the floors, change the bed linen, clean the stove and perform a dozen other regular tasks, and with a quick glance, we are satisfied that our homes are clean. However, we don’t notice the dust particles drifting through the air until they have settled into a visible layer on the surfaces that don’t attract regular cleaning, such as window dressings and blinds.

Dirt is Unhealthy, Especially for Children

What many people don’t realise is that any type of dirt in our living quarters is not only unsightly; it is a significant health hazard, especially to babies and young children. Where blinds are concerned, dust and other allergens such as pollen attach themselves to all types of blinds, whether venetians, verticals, roman, oriental or roller blinds.

We are specialists at Blind Concepts, cleaning blinds using our ultrasonic technology. We bring the blinds to our workshop for cleaning, and then return them to you when they are finished. If your blinds need cleaning, there is not just an aesthetic reason for contacting us but a health reason as well.

Young Immune Systems Still Developing

Babies and very young children are still in the process of developing a fully-functioning immune system, so they are more susceptible to the respiratory conditions and allergic reactions that are worsened by dust and pollen. Another culprit that can be mistaken for dirt is mould, and this is even more dangerous.

Mould on Blinds is Easy to Miss

Mould is sometimes not obvious as such, as it does not always look fuzzy. It can be present on walls or blinds as a type of stain, a smudge or just a discolouration. It could be one of those nondescript marks that a householder might notice and dismiss as something to be cleaned off during the next major cleaning cycle. In a young child’s bedroom, it could silently grow and cause nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing and make any pre-existing respiratory condition worse.

Cleaning Process Needs to Also Remove Bacteria

In cases where the blinds have not been cleaned for some years, it is difficult for a householder to get them completely clean. Our process not only cleans; it also sanitises and deodorises the blinds, removing not only dirt and grime, but also any bacteria living there. Getting your blinds professionally cleaned is a small price to pay to protect the health of all your family members, especially the youngest ones.

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.

How to Protect Your Airways While Dusting Your Blinds

If you are a sufferer of hay fever and asthma, keeping the home free of dust is essential to your overall health and comfort. There are various triggers that can start a bout of either condition such as exposure to some pollen and other allergens. However, you probably know that household dust mites are one of the most common causes.

Careless Dusting Technique Contributes to Hay Fever Symptoms

This makes cleaning an unpleasant task, especially if you are careless about your dusting technique. Dust cloths and feather dusters are notorious for flicking dust particles into the air where they are inhaled by everyone in the house. These particles also cling to curtains, blinds and other household furnishings, keeping the hay fever sufferer in a never-ending cycle of sneezing, itching eyes, runny nose and tickling in the back of the throat.

Is There an Alternative?

We have another alternative to these traditional cleaning methods when it comes time to clean your window blinds. Not only will there be no dust floating around the furnishings, but also you will not have to raise a finger to get your blinds cleaned. We will pick up your blinds from your home, put them through our process at the Blind Concepts workshop and return them to your home within 24 hours, ready for re-hanging.

Ultrasonic Cleaning – Just a Little Water and Sound Waves

Our process is called ultrasonic cleaning, and it works by using high frequency sound waves that produce millions of tiny imploding energy bubbles. These bubbles remove all the dirt, grime and grease that have become embedded in the blinds over time. There is no harsh scrubbing that can damage the surface of your blinds, and the bubbles get into every nook and cranny that brushes often don’t reach.

A Friend of the Environment

This process is also environmentally friendly. It uses a water-based solution that is safe and gentle to use and only the tiniest amount of bio-degradable detergent is needed. During the cleaning process, the blinds are also sanitised, deodorised and lubricated, restoring them to an almost-new look at a fraction of the cost of replacing them.

Spotless Windows – Blinds Look Brand New

While your blinds are away being cleaned, take the opportunity to clean the windows and wipe away any built-up grime or dust on the window sills and frames. If you have curtains on these windows as well as blinds, make it a clean sweep by taking them down and wash them yourself or have them dry-cleaned.

Say Goodbye to Irritating Symptoms

When we return your blinds to be hung at your now spotless windows, you will have the whole job completed and the dirt and dust will have disappeared. You will appreciate not only the pristine look of your window coverings but also being free of those irritating symptoms of hay fever.

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.