A SAFETY HAZARD:
The windows of our homes are like an empty canvas on an easel board, awaiting the skilled fingers of an artist to breathe life into it with a lively splash of color. They offer unlimited potential to our designing and decorating skills, and once adorned, enliven the interiors of our homes with their varied tones and textures. Yet, many a time, in the very choices of window dressings that we make may be a lurking danger and a potential life threatening hazard to our children and pets at home. Time and again the cords used for window dressings have proved to be the cause of children dying every year from strangulation. Statistical records indicate that corded window blinds have strangled 500 children in the last few decades. Corded horizontal blinds account for 57.5% of all strangulation. Vertical Draperies and Roman shades account for 37.2% of accidental strangulation of children. The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have identified window coverings with cords as one of the top five hidden hazards in the home. About once a month, a child between the age of 7 months and 10 years dies from window cord strangulation, and another child suffers a near strangulation. The month of October, every year, is observed as National Window Covering Safety Month, as a reminder of our contribution towards child and pet safety in our homes.
HOW STRANGULATION OCCURS:
Young children are unaware of the many dangers from window blind cords. Infants may be able to pull nearby window cords into their cribs and around their heads while playing. Toddlers and older children get entangled in window cords while climbing up furniture to look out of windows. Even if cleats are used, to wrap excess pull cords, if they are installed within a child’s reach, the cords above the cleat are a hazard. Free standing loops of beaded chains and nylon cords or an exposed cord on the back of a Roman shade are hazards. The lifting loop of a Roll-up blind slides off the side of the blind to form a free-standing loop in which a child can get entangled and strangle. Children can playfully place their necks between the lifting loop and the roll-up blind material and strangle. These accidents happen quickly and silently.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE:
The CPSC recommends the use of cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit to prevent such tragedies.
Examine all shades and blinds in the home and make sure there are no accessible cords on the front, side, or back of the product.
Do not place cribs, beds and furniture close to the windows because children can climb on them and gain access to cords.
Make loose cords inaccessible. If the window shade has looped beaded chains or nylon cords, install tension devices to keep the cord taut.
WINDOW COVERING SAFETY COUNCIL:
In 1994 major U.S manufacturers and retailers of window coverings founded the W.C.S.C to educate consumers about cord window safety. They wanted to raise an awareness of this glaring problem, provide free retrofit kits for old window coverings and promote the industries continuing commitment to produce quality and safety. It urges parents and caregivers to check all windows for potential cord hazards and make necessary updates.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY COMPONENTS:
To ensure further safety while using corded window coverings, a number of additional safety components are now being manufactured.
CORD CLEATS: It is a plastic or metal device used to wrap excess and dangling cords. They should be mounted high above out of the reach of children.
CORD TENSIONERS : It is device specific to blinds and shades that have a continuous cord lift system. It should be fixed to the wall or inside the window frame. It keeps the cord tight so that a child cannot stick their heads or appendage into the loop. Even if the cord is taut the window covering functions effortlessly.
BREAKAWAY TASSEL : It is attached at the end of two single cords to make it a loop. If any weight is put on it, it will break apart. The disadvantage of it is that when it breaks you get two unconnected cords once more which is a hazard again.
INNER CORD STOPS : They limit how the inner cords can be pulled and looped. If your current cord stop allows too much inner cord to be pulled out the location of the Cord Stop can be adjusted.
SAFETY STANDARDS FOLLOWED BY GRABER :
- Graber Blinds has added the following features to their window treatments to protect consumers from potentially dangerous accidents.
- Tension pulleys and tie down devices to keep continuous loop pull cords taut.
- Tassel ends on lift cords that reduce the risk of entanglement.
- Cord stops on horizontal blinds that prevent internal cords from slipping through the louvers.
- Cordless lift and motorized lift options that offer ultimate safety, eliminating the standard cord.
NEW INNOVATIONS BY NORMAN SHUTTERS:
Their continuous commitment to child safety through their window treatments has led to the following innovations.
CHILD-SAFE CORD RELEASE DEVICE : It deploys when there is a risk of entanglement.
SMART RISE SYSTEM in Portrait Honeycomb Shades: It is a safe but more traditional Bottom Up Lift System. It enables a smooth and controlled movement of the shade without unsightly cords that pose a safety risk.
AEROLITE SYSTEM in Centerpiece Roman Shades: Unlike traditional Roman shades that have cords dangling in the middle of the window, this system consists of high – end components for long lasting maneuverability and is the latest safety innovation.
SMART FIT SYSTEM in Portrait Honeycomb Shades: Traditional TopDown/BottomUp Systems not only leave unsightly cords towards the centre of the window, they also pose an increased safety hazard for entanglement. The Smart Fit System conceals cords offering a steady, controlled operation, a sleek look and peace of mind.
Norman Shutters actively promotes public awareness about window coverings safety. They have an enhanced safety option on their shutters for the different needs of children, older adults or people with special needs. All their products are VOC free and meet international standards for off-gassing of harmful chemicals.
Optimal anti-microbial finish is a long lasting treatment against accumulation of harmful germs and perfect for rooms with babies, children or elderly people.
Perfect Tilt Motorization allows you to tilt the whole panels of Shutter louvers with a remote control, and a solar powered option is also available. Particularly for skylights, the motorized option can prevent accidents that can happen resulting from falling when adjusting shutters.
GREEN GUARD CERTIFICATE : Look out for the Green Guard Certificate while purchasing window coverings. This certificate must meet stringent chemical emission requirements. This ensures that VOC (Vinyl Organic Compounds) are kept to the minimum thus improving the indoor air quality in our homes.
Making safer choices in the operating style of our window dressings can make our homes safer. This does not mean that we have to compromise on style. A child’s safety is a must. No point crying over spilled milk.