Window Blind Safety Highlighted During Child Safety Week (3-9 June)

Monday 3rd June 2019

Ards and North Down Borough Council is proactively working to create awareness around blind safety in an effort to prevent accidental deaths from blind cords…

There have been at least 33 deaths across the UK due to looped cords since 1999 (18 of which have occurred since the start of 2010), however, these accidents are preventable.

Children can become entangled on hanging cords when playing, climbing or exploring near window blinds. It can take less than a minute for a child to lose their life on one window cord. The Child Accident Prevention Trust estimates it can take just 15 seconds for a toddler to lose consciousness and death can occur in just two or three minutes.

In 2014, stringent new standards governing the manufacture, supply and installation of new internal window blinds came into effect with the aim of reducing child accidents. These changes place an obligation on all in the industry to supply and install compliant products.

In the case of internal window blinds, compliance with BS EN 13120:2009+A1:2014 ‘Internal blinds - Performance requirements including safety’, provides a presumption of conformity with the General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) 2005.

As a result, all blinds placed on the market now have to display warning labels placed on the front of blinds as well as on packaging. They must include safety instructions, as well as safety devices to ensure blind cords are kept out of the reach of young children.

The Standard also imposes a maximum cord and chain length where there is a likelihood of young children (aged 0-42 months) present which includes homes and public places like hotels, hospitals, schools, shops, places of worship and nurseries.

In order to reduce the risk of strangulation and asphyxiation, internal window blinds (and corded window coverings) shall be of an inherently safe design - often called Safe by Design.

Where installed window blinds require safety devices - either integral (built in) or non-integral (require separate fitting), installers must advise the customer and agree how and where such devices will be used/fitted.

The video below shows what to consider when buying new blinds, how to make exiting blinds safer and what else to consider with window coverings in your home;
https://vimeo.com/user7269955/review/141160650/cc3bd695b2.

Consumers who are concerned can, in the first instance, find advice from the British Blind and Shutter Associations (BBSA): http://www.bbsa.org.uk/domestic/child-safety/26.

The Surveyor and Installer Guide for made-to-measure blinds, in association with the ‘Make It Safe’ Campaign, details the legal requirements for a range of internal window blinds and can be found at:

www.makeitsafe.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/BBSA-Surveyor-and-Installer-guide-NON-Members-V5-11-17.pdf.

Videos highlighting the dangers of window blind cords and demonstrating window blind cord safety options are also available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk/blind-cord-safety.

The Council’s Home Safety Officers are also on hand to highlight the dangers associated with blind cords. Families with children aged under five can avail of a free home safety visit which focusses on providing practical advice and information to reduce the risk of accidents in the home.

New parents can also pick up a blind cord safety pack from the Registrar when they register the birth of their baby.

Further information and advice is available from Ards and North Down Borough Council by emailing the Home Safety Team at homesafety@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk or telephone 0300 013 3333 ext. 40336.