Ensuring Your Blinds are Child Safe
A change to the child safety legislation in 2014 means that new blinds have several requirements to ensure that they are completely child safe, and these requirements apply to all homes. This includes limitations on the cord and chain lengths and the introduction of safety devices to prevent any cords or chains from creating a hazardous loop. These new standards also apply to all public buildings or commercial premises where babies or young children have access or are likely to be present, such as restaurants, car showrooms and doctors surgeries.
There are three ways that blinds can be classified in terms of child safety:
Safe by design – blinds that are safe by design are either cordless, or they have concealed or tensioned cords. These blinds are typically pushed or pulled into place by hand. This includes wand operated blinds, spring operated blinds and tensioned blinds.
In-built safety systems – these blinds have safety systems built into the product and they, therefore, do not require any additional safety systems to be installed upon fitting. This includes chain break connectors and breakaway devices.
Separate safety systems – Separate safety systems require additional installation of a safety feature before use. This includes cord and chain tensioners and single-chain tensioners.
Vertical blinds have two different ways in which they can be operated; either by a wand system or a cord and chain system. Choosing a wand system means that your blind is safe by design, however, choosing a cord and chain system means that a separate safety system in the form of a cord and chain tensioner will have to be installed.
There are several different ways in which you can control your roller blinds. Roller blinds can be motorised or spring-loaded, which are both safe by design. They can also be operated with a chain, which has an in-built safety system to comply with child safety regulations. Roller blinds cannot be within 60cm of the floor, and they must also have two chain break connectors that come apart under any undue load but can be clipped back together again.
Venetian blinds require a separate safety system to be installed to ensure that they are child safe. This comes in the form of a cleat – a cleat should be securely fitted to an adjacent surface out of reach of children and at least 1.5 metres from the floor. The cord of the Venetian blind must be secured onto the cleat after every operation of the blind.
Roman blinds have a continuous metal chain and they are therefore not safe by design and consequently require a cleat to be fitted. The chain also cannot be within 1.5m of the ground.
Perfect Fit blinds
Perfect Fit blinds are safe by design as they are controlled by simply pulling the blind down and pushing it back up. Perfect Fit Roller blinds can, however, be chain operated, and they, therefore, require a separate safety system to be installed. The blind comes with the cord tidy pre-attached to the side frame for easy installation.
Pleated blinds have a continuous chain meaning that they are not safe by design and they require a separate safety system in the form of a cleat, which cannot be within 1.5 metres of the floor.
The Elevate blind system is child safe by design as they have no loose cords and are operated by simply moving the bottom rail of the blind.
Allusion blinds are operated via a wand and they are therefore safe by design and do not require any extra safety fittings.
Mirage blinds have a continuous chain meaning that they are not safe by design and they require a separate safety system in the form of a chain tensioner bracket on the wall, which cannot be within 1.5 metres of the floor. Mirage blinds can also be motorised, making them free of chains and safe by design.
Additional ways to keep your children safe with blinds
- Move beds and cots away from windows with cords and chains.
- Ensure that all cords and chains are always secured and out of reach of babies and young children.
- Do not tie cords/chains together.
- Move all furniture away from windows to prevent little ones climbing onto the windowsills.
For more information about child safety and blinds, visit The British Blind and Shutter Association’s website