Blind cord safety is easy for parents to address these days. Modern products like cordless blinds deliver an array of stylish solutions without the worry of dangerous dangling blind cords. Or, you can easily childproof existing blinds and shades with inexpensive blind cord cleats, cord wraps, and breakaway tassels.
Window Blind Safety Standards — a Quick History
The window covering industry underwent a major safety overhaul in the mid-90s. Before then, window blind cords had no built-in safety stops and several children had actually died of strangulation due to window blind cords.
New safety requirements passed in the 90s required corded blinds and shades to be redesigned with built-in child safety features. These include anchoring systems for blind cords, safety stops for inner cords, and completely cordless styles. Blind manufacturers and childproofing companies also released a variety of safety devices to retrofit existing blind cords.
Here’s a roundup of the many ways you can address blind cord safety in your home. First, we’ll explore how to childproof existing blinds, then we’ll look the many choices in cordless blinds and shades.
Blind Cord Safety Products and Childproofing Tips
There are several ways to childproof unsafe blind cords without purchasing new products. This quick check can tell you if your blinds have built-in cord safety features or if safety solutions are needed:
- Do the pull cords connect at the end to create a loop? If so, is the plastic end “tassel” one solid piece, or will it break apart easily, breaking the cord loop? (If it separates into two pieces, it probably is a safety tassel)
- Can the inner cord (between the blind slats) be pulled out?
- Does the continuous loop (on some vertical and horizontal blinds) dangle freely?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to address blind cord safety. Here are four simple fixes for specific blind cord safety issues.
1. Blind Cord Cleats
Simple and inexpensive blind cord cleats allow pull cords to be secured safely out of reach. This is probably the simplest blind cord safety fix for standard blinds with pull cords. However, it should be used in conjunction with a safety tassel (below) just in case someone is in a hurry and the cord is not wound up properly.
2. Blind Cord Wrap and Roll-ups
Another blind cord safety device made to child proof blinds are cord wraps and cord roll-ups. These retractable devices are made to neatly secure blind cords out of reach. Safety-wise, they’re as effective as blind cord anchors but look tidier and don’t require installation into window frames.
3. Blind Cord Safety Tassles
The cord tassel is the plastic thimble-like piece at the end of the blind pull cord. If multiple blind control cords are connected with one tassel it creates a dangerous loop. This is actually one of the major safety hazards that drove the changes within the industry.
Luckily, it’s an easy fix. Simply replace the single tassel with a breakaway tassel or multiple cord tassels like the ones listed below. This eliminates the dangerous cord loop.
4. Continuous Blind Cord Loop Anchors
Continuous-loop control cords are common in many types of blinds, shades, and drapes as well as most floor-length blinds and draperies. To function, the cord must be in one piece, it can’t be cut or shortened. However, the loop it creates can be anchored to the wall or floor using simple cord loop safety anchors or tie-downs.
5. Blind Cord Safety Stops
This repair will minimize the danger of inner cords being pulled out from between the blind slats (pre-1999 designs). Inner cord stops are installed onto the cords near the headrail when the blind is completely lowered. Free cord safety stops are available through the Window Covering Safety Council.
Cordless Blinds are the Safest Choice for Family Homes
Cordless blinds and shades are available in every style imaginable, and many are surprisingly inexpensive. If you’re in the market for new window coverings, it’s easy to avoid the blind cord safety issue altogether.
In fact, the Window Covering Safety Council highly recommends using cordless window coverings in homes with small children. Not only are cordless blinds and shades safer, they’re sleeker and more stylish than blinds with dangling cords.
Amazon has a great selection of cordless blinds and shades at competitive prices. Below are some top-rated products that you might wanter to consider. You can also find some basic styles in-stock in most home improvement stores, too.
Cordless Cellular (Honeycomb) Shades
Cordless cellular shades come in a variety of colors and styles. Most styles are stain- and dust-resistant and easily cleaned with a vacuum attachment or damp cloth. Also called honeycomb shades, cellular blinds also come in energy-efficient insulating styles and offer linings that effectively filter or block light.
Cordless Roman Shades
Cordless roman shades add versatility, dimension, and charm to any room. Roman shades come in an array of textures, fabrics, and colors, including natural materials like bamboo and woven grasscloth. Roman shades can be very decorative and are a popular alternative to drapes. The soft folds of a roman shade lend a softer texture to windows without the worry of dangling drapes and curtains.
Cordless Pleated Shades
Cordless pleated shades come in a variety of styles and materials, including pleated paper shades and light-filtering fabrics. Basic paper pleated shades are very inexpensive and come in various colors while fabric pleated shades offer many decorative textures and colors.
Miniblinds are still popular and many of today’s styles are made with dent-resistant alloys and dust-repelling finishes. Cordless miniblinds don’t use cords to raise and lower, so long, dangling cords are completely eliminated. Cordless styles still use inner cords to control the angle of the slats but have built-in safety stops to prevent unsafe situations.
Cordless Roller Shades
The tried-and-true roller shade is sometimes all that’s needed. Spring-tension roller shades have always been cordless and offer styles ranging from blackout shades to light-filtering mesh and decorative fabrics. Cordless roller shades also tend to be very dust-resistant (especially compared to miniblinds) and easy to clean.
Cordless Faux Wood Blinds
Cordless faux woods blinds offer classic style in busy homes. Modern faux wood materials mimic the look of expensive wooden blinds without the cost. Like cordless miniblinds, cordless faux wood blinds don’t use cords for raising and lowering the blind. They do have internal cords to control the slats but these have built-in safety stops to eliminate dangers.
Hang Drapes and Curtains Safely
Anything a child can reach has a potential for danger, including long draperies and curtains. If you have these, be sure rods are securely installed into the wooden studs surrounding the window.
Windows are typically framed with studs that extend about four inches around the opening. Rod hardware should be securely installed into studs to prevent them coming out if kiddos pull on drapes.
Also, avoid using pressure-mounted rods with any curtain that a child can reach (remember – they move chairs!). These are easily pulled down and could cause injury to a child. This applies to shower curtain rods, too.
That’s a Wrap
I hope this roundup of blind cord safety issues and solutions helps you make your home safer for little ones. If you have any questions or want to add some window covering safety tips of your own, please share in the comments below. Cheers! Krista