The death of a two-year-old in Victoria last month after the toddler strangled on a blind cord highlights how important it is for parents to check their homes for safety hazards. Since 2000, over 12 children have died as a result of blind cord accidents in Australia, and each year many more come close to strangulation and are saved just in time.

“These deaths and injuries are highly preventable”, said Justin Ralph, Managing Director of Shy Blinds, “and quite often the dangers go unnoticed by parents, grandparents and carers.”

“Many people are just unaware of the dangers. All it takes is to turn your back for a split second and disaster can strike”, said Mr Ralph. “We see a lot of older style blinds and curtains in homes that have not been installed correctly, or are non-compliant to todays standards.

For the adventurous toddler, many cords can be reached and easily put over their heads or wrapped around their necks. Its frightening to think of what can happen.” It is not just the cords that can cause problems, either, as the older style Vertical Blinds can also be dangerous, as the tassels at the bottom of each strip can become tangled around crawling babies and small children.

Care must be taken in childrens bedrooms and play areas, especially with older style window coverings. The good news is, its easy to child-proof your blinds and window coverings to ensure they are safe.

Option 1: Cordless Blinds. These are blinds that you lower and raise by hand without the aid of a cord. They are specifically designed to lock into place when you remove your hand from the bottom rail.

Option 2: Retrospectively Change Loop Cords. Parents can cut the loop off existing blinds and tie the end in a fastener. While the cord can still be a problem, the removal of the loop will reduce the risk of accidental hanging or strangulation.

Option 3: Motorisation. Blind and curtain motorisation is not as expensive as many would think. The motor is very small and not visible, and it offers a convenient way to open and close blinds by remote control or a home management console.

Option 4: The Break-Away Tassel. This consists of two small pieces that snap together to join the two ends of the cord. Should a child become entangled in the cords, the tassel is designed to break apart with minimal downward pressure, causing the cords to separate.

Option 5: Retractable Pull Cords. These cords retract to a pre-set position so that they are less accessible to young children.

Option 6: Wands. This single plastic rod, which replaces the chain and cord, is easy to use and non-intrusive.

Option 7: Cord Tensioner. This is a standard feature with most reputable blind manufacturers, such as Luxaflex, and helps prevent injury by keeping the cord loops taut using spring tension with a specially designed cord weight and bracket. Many imported blinds do not have these devices installed as standard.

Option 8: Vertical Blinds with no tassles. The blinds hang without cords joining at the bottom. They achieve the same function as the older style and are completely safe.

Option 9: Avoidance. Moving childrens beds and other furniture away from windows helps reduce the risk.

Option 10: Security. If you cant make the changes outlined above or youre waiting for the changes to be made, then you can secure the cords using hooks or by moving the cords out of reach.

While adult supervision is the best form of defence against any child accident, it is difficult to watch your children 100% of the time, so the above options can help you to ensure your home is always safe. Always choose blinds and curtains from reputable companies as they will be compliant and meet safety requirements. Justin Ralph believes that some simple checks can make all the difference. Blind and curtain safety is as important as a pool fences, child safety locks on poison cupboards and power socket plugs. We encourage everyone to check their existing blinds and curtains for dangers, as injuries and deaths can be prevented.For more information about Child Safety surrounding blinds and curtains please contact Shy Blinds on 1300 760 127.