Blinds and curtains, child safety guidelines

A baby or young child can become entangled in curtain or blind cords in seconds. This can happen when cords are too long or end in a loop. If a child slips, moves quickly or plays with a cord, the cord can act like a noose and strangle the child.

Babies can reach through cot slats, grab a nearby blind or curtain cord and pull it into the cot and around their necks.

Young children can accidentally strangle on dangling cords after climbing onto a bed or other pieces of furniture.

Steps for protecting children

Follow these simple steps to keep blind and curtain cords out of children’s reach, particularly children under 6 years old:

  • Keep children away from all cords – move furniture, cots and beds away.
  • Check all blind and curtain cords – both at home and when away on holidays. Make sure they are out of children’s reach.
  • Make loose cords safe – use safety devices or cut the cord loop and attach a tassel at the end of each strand.
  • Choose safe blinds and curtains – check new curtains and blinds have warning labels and secure the cords out of reach.
Important – If you are buying new made-to-measure blinds or curtains, ask the supplier to show you what safety features are available and make sure you use them.

How can I make my blind cords safe?

To remove the hazards of looped cords, you can either install safety devices that secure the cords out of children’s reach or you may be able to simply cut the loops.

Safety device giveaway

Fair Trading has a limited number of safety device kits to give away. These devices secure looped roller blind cords to wooden window frames so they are no longer loose and pose a strangulation risk.

Each safety kit contains five plastic devices with screws and instructions. To install the device:

  1. Pull the cord through the device
  2. Pull the device down until the cord is tight
  3. Screw the device into the window frame.
Installation steps for blind cord safety device
Important – The device in this safety kit is only suitable if you have roller blinds with looped cords and wooden window frames. For other types of blinds and frames, visit your local blind retailer or hardware store.To order a free safety device kit, fill in the online order form. Stocks are limited to one kit per household. Delivery may take up to 4 weeks.

Steps to cutting blind cord loops

Before you start, check that your blinds will still work with cut cords and that it won’t void your warranty.

  1. Cut looped cords on the blind, curtain or venetians, just above the tassel.
  2. Remove any tassel and equaliser buckle.
  3. Attach a new tassel to each of the pull-cord ends.
  4. Knot the cord to hold the tassel (see illustration below).
Illustration showing how to knot the cord to hold the tassel.
Note: Pull-cords on certain vertical blinds or curtains require a continuous loop to work and cannot be cut. For these types of blinds or curtains, you will need to install a safety device that will secure the cords out of reach from children.

Need more information?

Contact your local blind supplier or hardware store to find out what safety devices are suitable for your blinds. You can also visit www.productsafety.gov.au and download the ‘Blind and curtain cord safety alert’ brochure.

Kidsafe NSW provides a range of information to assist parents in making their homes safe for young children. Contact them on 9845 0890 or visit their website www.kidsafensw.org

Related information

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Consumers/Product_and_service_safety/General_products/Blinds_and_curtains.page