Child Safety: Don’t be Blind

In August, over 5.5 million window shades and blinds were recalled due to the strangulation deaths of at least 3 small children.  October is Child Safety Month, and I thought it would be appropriate to review a few child safety measures when it comes to window treatments.

Unlike other strangulation deaths, at least one of the recent deaths occurred when the child became entangled in the inner cords of the blind or shade, not the operating cord.  For example, on a wood blind, the “ladder” cords that run down the center of the blind, stretch outward, allowing a child to get his/her neck caught in the cord and suffocate. 

Now, I’m all for bargin-hunting and scoring a deal.  However, purchasing inexpensive blinds and shades can put your children or pets in harm’s way.  Hunter Douglas window treatments were not a part of the recall, and have taken child safety beyond the recommendations required by current law.  On a HD wood blind, those inner “ladder” cords are equipped with stops, keeping them from pulling out more than a few inches.  This keeps children and pets from getting tangled in them.  Hunter Douglas window treatments are some of the most popular on the market; quality and child safety are two big reasons for that.  Systems like their LiteRise cordless system move a shade up and down with the touch of your finger – no cords!  Or, PowerRise uses a remote control – always popular with husbands.

I am a fan of Hunter Douglas products – can you tell?  I have sold them for years, and the company is the most innovative in the marketplace, and stands behind their products.  However, if Hunter Douglas products are more expensive than what you are looking for, there are some precautions you can take to keep your family safe.

First, make sure that blind operating cords are wrapped up and out of the way, so children and pets cannot reach them.  Keep beds, chairs and other furniture away from windows, if possible, so children cannot use them to reach the shades.  Raise your shades out of the way, so none of the cords are accessible to small hands.  Or, consider draperies or curtains, which usually operate without cords.

Hopefully, none of you have had any injuries or near-misses with your window treatments.  Take a moment now to check your windows for any potential hazards, before Child Safety Month passes you by.  And, leave any comments or questions you may have about window shades and blinds – I’m happy to answer them!



Filed under Interior Design News

2 responses to “Child Safety: Don’t be Blind

  1. Hi there, I spotted your blog via Bing while on the lookout for a company that did new blind sales and your post caught my interest

  2. Although I am a bit late finding this article, it is a topic that often comes up when we deal with customers as well. We are not a Hunter Douglas reseller like yourself, we build all of our blinds, verticals, shutters, and cell shades in house. After the latest incident last year involving a child, we started to install these small plastic clips at the top of the ladder cord to prevent them from being pulled through. Something that takes little extra time to install is something every manufacturer should be implementing.

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