Monday 25 July 2016

Blinds Safety Advice for Parents

Children love to play near windows. The photo above was taken during a game of hide and seek. Ebony loves to hide behind the curtains, use the curtains as part of her shows, climb on the windowsill and look out at the world passing by.

If there’s one thing all parents worry about, it’s their children’s safety. I sometimes scare myself with just how much I can worry about Ebony’s safety. If she’s playing upstairs and it goes quiet, I suddenly panic that something bad has happened. I must drive her insane because I am always interrupting her games to check she is ok.

I think part of the problem is the internet. It seems like every time something tragic happens, a million articles and blogs are written about it and then something very rare suddenly feels like a very real risk. That said, I do think this awareness-raising is important as a way of families reducing the risks in their home. I’m sure lots of parents bolted furniture to the wall after hearing about the recent deaths in the US. And I bet people took precautions about the risk of button batteries in their home after the fatality over Christmas.

One of the things I think all parents should be aware of are the dangers posed by window blinds. Young children are at risk of strangulation by low-hanging blind cords and sadly these accidents are not uncommon. This is something that has attracted a lot of news coverage over the past few years, yet accidents still occur regularly. When Ebony was born in 2012, the Sure Start Centre were giving out free blind safety clips so parents could keep blind cords well out of the reach of children.

Now that people are more aware of the risks caused by blind cords, many blind companies have started selling safer blinds which don’t use traditional cords. Some of the newer designs are cord-free and others feature safety features that allow the blind cord to break under pressure. So if you’re buying brand new blinds, you should find they’re already safe. Thanks to legislation introduced in 2014, all blinds sold must now be child-safe. If, however, you have older blinds in your home, you may need to talk simple precautions to reduce the risk of injury.  

Sadly, children can easily become tangled in blind cords whilst playing and this can cause injury or even death. And your child doesn’t have to be playing with the cords to be in danger, there have been cases of children running past windows and become entangled in the low-hanging cords. It’s important to keep the area underneath blind cords free from furniture because children love to climb and could easily get hold of blind cords if standing on furniture.

There were blinds in our house when we moved in, but these all have safety devices fitted which force the blind cord to snap if under pressure. As well as that, we have some string cords which are tied up using safety clips I bought online (these ones). It cost  me just £2.11 for a pack of five. If you don’t have safety devices fitted to the blind cords in your house, add that to your to-do list for today.

Are the blinds in your home child-free? This isn’t just an important question for parents, you should make sure your blind cords are child-safe for any young visitors in your home. Tragic accidents have occurred at the homes of grandparents, family friends and other relatives.

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