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Install Child-Safe Window Blind Cords

by Jamie Littlefield
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Window blinds purchased before 2001 pose a serious home safety threat to child safety. Every month, a child dies by strangulation from unsafe blind cords. These tragic deaths happen in cribs, play areas, and living rooms.

Parents and caretakers may think they've taken every child safety precaution. But, just a few unsupervised minutes near a window with blinds can end a young life. Whether you have children or live by yourself, creating a child-safe home is a little way to make a big difference. Only you have the ability to protect the precious young lives of relatives and visitors in your home.

Blinds created prior to 2001 do not meet current child safety regulations and are especially risky to toddlers and infants under three years of age. Older blinds tend to have long cords that can be easily wrapped around little necks in play or experimentation. When a single blind tassel pulls together multiple blind cords, it creates a dangerous loop that a child may get caught in. Window blind cords without stoppers may be pulled downwards, easily accessible by curious children. Most often, infants strangle to death in their own cribs, placed innocently near a window. Toddlers die after climbing up to see out of a window, falling, and getting caught in the mini blind cords below.

These heartbreaking blind cord deaths are preventable. If your window blinds were purchased before 2001, you can improve child safety by installing cordless window treatments or ordering a free blind retrofit kit online.

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Window blinds purchased before 2001 pose the greatest strangulation hazard. The best action you can take is to install new cordless window treatments or cordless blinds.

The non-profit organization, Parents for Window Blind Safety, offers a list of cordless window treatments that are safe for children. Note that they only recommend specific products, not entire window treatment companies. Consider purchasing shutters, curtain panels, or window film. Most of these products can be found at your local hardware store.

If you do not want to replace your blinds at this time, you can still improve child safety by requesting a free window blind retrofit kit from the Window Covering Safety Council. These retrofit kits contain all the hardware you need and can be easily ordered online. You should order a window blind retrofit kit if:

  • You have horizontal blinds, pleated shades, or cellular shades that use a looped pull cord (purchased prior to 1995). You will need to cut the loop and add tassels to the end of loose cords.
  • You have horizontal blinds, pleated shades or cellular shades that do not have cord stops (purchased prior to 2001). You will need to add new cord stops near the top of your window covering.
  • You have vertical blinds or traverse draperies that do not include a cord tie-down (purchased prior to 1997). You will need to install a tie-down device to your wall.

Once you receive your blind retrofit kit in the mail, you can find simple text installation instructions and video installation instructions on the Window Covering Safety Council website. Take a few minutes to install the hardware and rest easy, knowing you've made the world a little safer for children.

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