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.