There are child safe alternatives for every blind style available so always consider these first when looking for your new blinds
The UK blind industry has seen significant product development in recent years to design operating methods that do not use cords or chains.
Blinds can now be simply moved into position by hand with spring assisted operation.
Wands can be used to operate vertical blinds and venetian blinds to open and close the blinds and tilt the slats.
Motorisation offers child safe operation and ease of use, with some linking to home automation and smartphones and tablets.
Some window sizes or shapes may not lend themselves to cordless window blinds or you may specifically wish to co-ordinate with your existing blinds – if this is the case there are still safe options:
In-built safety systems
In-built safety systems are those that are built into the product and so do not require additional installation or operation in use. These include chain break connectors where the chain is designed to separate under any undue pressure. Breakaway tassels at the bottom of cords work in the same way.
Separate safety systems
Separate safety systems are those that require additional installation or operation in use. If cordless options or those with in-built safety devices are not suitable for your specific situation, then the only safe alternative is to use a blind with a separate safety device such as a tensioning device on a chain loop or an accumulation device such as a cleat so the cord can be stored out of reach of children. Make sure the device is securely fitted and always used.
Are cord and chain lengths now fixed?
Yes, the child safety standards determine the cord and chain lengths and retailers and professional installers are bound by these standards.
Must safety devices be fitted?
Professional installers must fit safety devices and explain their use. There are no exceptions in homes.
If you are installing your own blinds, make sure you read the instructions and fit any safety device.
What about blinds over kitchen sinks or other situations where the cords and chains may be difficult to reach?
This should be discussed with the trader prior to installation. There are many options to provide a blind of your choice and still allow easy operation. For example; rather than a cord and chain operated vertical blind which will have to be fitted with tensioning devices 1.5m from the floor – choose a wand operated vertical where the louvres are drawn and tilted by a wand fitted to the first louvre – simple, easy, quick and neater too as there are no cords or chains.
If you have any other questions, just speak to your local BBSA member – you can find the nearest one to you on the link opposite.