How to Make Your Corded Blinds Safer for Kids
As parents, grandparents, and caregivers, we want the kids in our homes to be safe. Blinds that operate with cords are a strangulation hazard for kids. It’s not always realistic to replace an entire house full of corded blinds with cordless. So what can we do? We can make our corded blinds safer by keeping cords tied up out of reach, preventing hazardous loops from forming, and keeping all chain and cord loops tied down tightly. These recommendations are in line with the Standard for Safety of Window Covering Products that is published by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA). Fix My Blinds is here to help you make your corded blinds safer for the kids in your home.
Kids are curious. They experience the world around them by touching and investigating. It is important to keep blind cords away from our tiny explorers.
Use a Pair of Cord Cleats
One of the easiest ways to keep cords away from kids is to wrap the blind’s operating cords around cord cleats. You can use cord cleats for both the lifting cords and the tilting cords. You can use cord cleats on wood, faux wood, mini and Venetian blinds, as well as cellular, honeycomb, pleated, Roman and woven wood shades. Install cord cleats at least five feet above the floor, high enough that most kids can’t reach. Use a pair of cleats large enough to securely wrap the cords around them in a figure eight pattern. We carry a variety of cleats in many sizes and finishes to coordinate with your home’s decor.
Use a pair of cord cleats to wrap up cords.
Shorten the Cord Length
Shorten operating cords as much as possible. Cords should be 40% or less than the total length of the blind. This includes both lifting and tilting cords. Be sure to only shorten cords when the blind is in the fully lowered position. If you’re shortening tilting cords, only cut them when the slats on the blind are laying horizontally.
This chart gives you an estimate of the recommended cord length for common blind sizes.
Place Cord Joiners Correctly
If you choose to combine multiple lifting cords on your blinds using a cord condenser, joiner or reducer, install it within 3″ of the cord lock mechanism when the blind is fully lowered. This is the industry recommendation. Be sure that the overall length of the lifting strings and individual pull cord totals 40% or less of the total length of the blind.
Install all condensers & cord joiners within three inches of the cord lock like this one.
Replace Cord Tilt Mechanisms
To further remove cords from reach, consider replacing cord tilt mechanisms with wand tilt mechanisms on horizontal blinds. This eliminates the cords and makes that operation instantly safe for kids. Swapping the tilt mechanisms is a very easy repair, and we have repair videos that show how to do it. When you replace a cord tilt with a wand tilt, you will have to purchase a new wand.
Changing from a cord control tilt mechanism to a wand controlled is a great idea for homes with kids.
Avoid Creating Loops
On some blinds, the exposed and accessible lifting cords can create dangerous loops on the lower part of the blinds where our kids can easily reach them. There are ways to reduce the possibility of loops forming.
Tie on Safety Washers
Safety washers are simply small plastic washers. They tie to the lifting cords to prevent loops from being created lower down on blinds. A loop is created when the exposed lifting cord is pulled through the slats, fabric or cord guides on the blind. Install safety washers within 3″ of the cord lock when the blind is fully lowered. This will offer the best protection against this risk. You can install safety washers on all types of horizontal blinds, as well as pleated, roman and woven wood shades.
Also, lock your blind, even when it is fully lowered. This is a simple safety measure that can also help prevent the cords from being pulled out lower on the blind.
Exposed lifting cords can be pulled away from the blind. Safety washers reduce this risk.
Keep Cords Separate
It’s best to leave all operating cords hanging separately. Don’t tie them together, knot them or put them in the same tassel. Tying them together and putting them in the same tassel creates a dangerous loop above the knot. Keeping the cords hanging individually is safer.
Keep cords separate to avoid loops.
Install Cord Shroud
Some Roman and woven wood shades have exposed cords on the backside of the blind. This exposed cord can be pulled away from the blind material, forming a loop. To reduce this risk, install cord shroud on all exposed cords. The cord shroud tape prevents the lifting cords from being pulled out and away from the backside of the blind. The cord shroud ties to each ring or cord guide on the back of the blind. Then, the lifting cord weaves through the cord shroud.
White cord shroud installed on a woven wood blind.
Tie Down Loops
Some blinds operate with a loop of bead chain or cord. The loops must be tied down to make the blinds safer for kids. Unsecured loops pose an entanglement and strangulation risk for kids.
Attach Tension Devices Properly
Securing loops tightly to the wall or floor is important because loops that are free-hanging pose a strangulation risk to kids. Attach all cord and bead chains loops to the wall or floor using ANSI/WCMA compliant tension devices. Industry approved tension devices will make your blind stop working completely if they come loose from their mounting location and require re-mounting. All tension devices that we sell are ANSI/WCMA compliant and operate in this way.
Use the right amount of tension to hold down each loop.
Consider a Bead Chain Restraining Device
For blinds that operate with a metal or plastic bead chain loop, there is a way to completely eliminate the loop. Switch your bead chain loop to a bead chain restraining device. This wand-like device totally encloses the chain, keeping it from curious fingers. These devices are very easy to install and don’t require tools. Your blind will operate in the same way, and will no longer require a tension device.
With the bead chain restraining device, the chain is totally enclosed.
Kids will touch and explore anything within their reach and line of sight. Move their cribs and beds away from windows. Consider rearranging furniture to keep tall things away from windows. Kids can climb on furniture to reach interesting looking cords. Some kids will even move chairs, stools, and toys over to windows to stand on so that they can look outside. Make sure that the cords on your blinds are secured.
One of the very best safety measures you can take is tying up cords with cleats. It’s simple, and they are easy to install. If kids can’t reach blind cords, they are much safer in our homes.
Visit the Window Covering Safety Council website for more information and resources.