The Dangers of Old Blinds
If you are living in a home with older blinds, you may be unknowingly putting your young children or pets at risk. Outdated models are equipped with very long cords that are used to control the movement of the blinds. These long strings or cords don’t appear dangerous at first but they can be one of the most deadly items in a home for a infant.
If a child becomes entangled in blind cords, they can be unconscious within 15 seconds, receive significant brain damage after 4 minutes and face fatal consequences after only 6 minutes without oxygen. This entire sequence can be completely silent leaving little to no warning signals for nearby adults. It only takes a parent stepping into another room for a few minutes for a tragedy to occur.
During the time period between 1986 and June of 2016 there were 69 reports of strangulation hazards caused by corded window blinds in Canada. Of those reports, 40 were fatal, while another 22 incidents reported serious injuries.
Due to the fact that there is still an average of slightly over 1 child death per year caused by older models of blinds, the Government of Canada is proposing new regulations that restrict cord lengths and reinforce the safety features and warnings manufactures must adhere to.
How to Make Your Blinds Safe
The best possible solution to the dangers presented from outdated blinds is to immediately replace them with newer models. Many manufacturers have now placed an emphasis on child safety, and equip their products with features designed to prevent strangulation.
If you are unable to replace your old blinds right away, there are still a few precautions you can take to reduce the risk of tragedy. The first thing you should do is ensure that any loose cords are tied together and secured up high and out of reach. Even a very short length of rope hanging down can be a choking hazard for your child. Check your blinds thoroughly, front and back, ensuring there are no internal chords that could be pulled free by an infant.
There are secure hold-downs you can purchase to increase the safety of your current blinds but remember, these suggestions are not a long term solution; new child-safe blinds should be installed as soon as possible in any area that children spend a significant amount of time in.
Further Measures for Infants
As a parent with a newborn or young child, it is difficult to keep track of all the items around the home that could pose a risk to your loved ones. Here are a few additional safety points to remember when bringing infants into your home.
- Never place a playpen, crib, bed or high chair near a window with blinds that have any exposed ropes or strings
- Be careful not to place furniture or other items near a window that a child could use to climb up to an area of danger
- Always follow the manufacturer’s installation and utilization instructions, reading all the warnings and labels that come with the blinds in your home
- Educate young children that enter your home about the dangers of strangulation, stressing the importance of not playing with any cords
- Never tie knots in cords and ensure if any loops or tangling occurs to fix the issue immediately, re-securing the cords in a high position, out of reach with cleats or tie downs
Child Safety First
Educating yourself is the first step to keeping your family safe but don’t forget to share these details with anyone who spends a significant amount of time around your children. Babysitters, Grandparents and teachers should all be aware that blinds are a serious risk to the health of infants.
The “Parents for Window Blind Safety” group produced a video, In An Instant, that can be shared with others to highlight the importance of blind safety. This video demonstrates how easily a child can be injured by dangling cords and how it can happen to anyone, even with very safe, loving parents in the near vicinity.
We take child safety very seriously at needBlinds.ca and can recommend models and manufacturers that produce products with safety features built into their window coverings.