When considering window coverings for their homes, people are usually most concerned with form and function. New blinds, shades, and shutters greatly improve the appearance of a home. But it can be important to keep an eye toward safety as well, especially when it comes to children and pets.
Most features on appliances in your home present some sort of minor safety risk if not managed and maintained properly. While rare, accidents with blinds or shades can happen. You love your family, friends, and furry companions and want them to be safe in your home. This blog provides some safety guidance and direction, as well as lists of products and window treatment features that are safest for your home.
You’re Not Alone
There’s consumer protection and oversight involved. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) has passed several Federal Safety Standards for Custom Window Coverings. Most recently, it passed a ruling (87 FR 1014) that would require all custom window coverings to have no operating cords, inaccessible operating cords, or operating cords equal to or shorter than 8 inches in any use position. All three greatly reduce or eliminate the chances for injury.
The CSPC also provides safety steps for households with pets and children. Another organization, the Window Covering Safety Council, is also a great resource for information on how to ensure your window coverings and home are safe.
Choose a Safer Product
There are many options when it comes to window coverings. Some products are inherently safer due to their design and construction. As an example, shutters don’t contain cords like a blind or shade might. By choosing shutters, you can entirely remove the threat presented by chords.
If you choose a product that has cords, be sure to use the safety features available to reduce the chance of risk or harm to your pets and children.
- Shorter cords. Custom window coverings can be ordered with short cord lengths. This makes the cords less accessible to pets and children.
- Use safety devices like breakaway tassels, hold downs and cord cleats. Break away tassels will allow the cord to break free from the blind if enough pressure is applied. This greatly reduces the risk of strangulation in the event your child or pet gets tangled in the cord. Hold downs keep cord loops securely attached to the wall and cord cleats allow homeowners to wrap up the excess cord length to keep it out of reach. Both reduce the chances of a pet or child getting tangled in a cord.
- On products like blinds with a lift and tilt mechanism, replace at least the tilt mechanism with a wand instead of a cord.
Cordless Options are Best
When possible, choose cordless or automated lift system instead of cords. Aside from being safer, they also deliver a much more pleasing aesthetic. Who wants to see unsightly cords hanging down from their new window coverings? Don’t worry, cordless lift systems are typically only a small premium over corded products. Automation is increasingly popular too, as 40% of window covering buyers today choose an automated lift system which allows you to control your coverings with a remote (and app/Smart Home system in many cases). Automated shades admittedly add a bit of cost over a cordless mechanism, but the long-term user experience may make it worthwhile. With either choice, you make your home safer by removing cords entirely.
Take a Deep Breath
While it is a tragedy if even one child is harmed to an accident involving a window covering, it is extremely rare. If you follow the manufacturers direction and use common sense, you can limit your risk for injury to nearly zero. To reduce hazards, choose window treatments that are safe for children and to properly install and maintain them. Cordless or motorized window treatments are a good choice, as are window treatments with child-safe tassels and no small parts. Always properly secure window treatments and keep them out of reach of children. Below you’ll find easy lists for families with children and pets to follow.
Now that you are educated on how to make your window coverings safer, you can shop with confidence. For more advice or to book your free in-home consultation, please contact your local Bumble Bee Blinds expert.
Best Window Treatment Options and Features for Child Safety
- Cordless window treatments: Consider using cordless window treatments, such as cordless blinds or shades, to eliminate the risk of pets or children getting tangled in cords.
- Cord cleats: If you prefer window treatments with cords, consider using cord cleats to keep the cords out of reach of pets and children. Cord cleats are devices that wrap around the cord and hold it in place against the wall or window frame, keeping it out of reach.
- Cordless lift systems: Some window treatments, such as cellular shades, offer cordless lift systems that allow you to raise and lower the shades using a simple push or pull motion. These systems eliminate the need for cords and are a safe choice for homes with pets and children.
- Motorized window treatments: Motorized window treatments can be controlled using a remote or a smart home system, eliminating the need for cords altogether. These systems are a safe and convenient option for homes with pets and children.
- Child-safe tassels: If you have window treatments with tassels, consider replacing them with child-safe tassels, which are designed to break apart easily if pulled on, reducing the risk of injury.
Best Window Treatment Features for Families with Pets
- Cordless blinds or shades: Cordless blinds and shades eliminate the risk of pets getting tangled in cords and are a safe choice for homes with pets.
- Cellular shades: Cellular shades offer a cordless lift system that allows you to raise and lower the shades using a simple push or pull motion. These shades are a safe and convenient option for homes with pets.
- Motorized window treatments: Motorized window treatments, such as motorized blinds or shades, can be controlled using a remote or a smart home system, eliminating the need for cords altogether. These systems are a safe and convenient option for homes with pets.
- Wood or faux wood blinds: Wood or faux wood blinds are durable and resistant to damage, making them a good choice for homes with pets.
- Roller shades: Roller shades are a simple, stylish option that is easy to operate and can be made with durable, pet-friendly materials such as PVC or polyester.
Your local Bumble Bee Blinds professional can assist you in considering the right window coverings for your home. To find a Bumble Bee Blinds location in your local area, click here.
Luke Schwartz is the Brand President of Bumble Bee Blinds. He and Stephen Vest, the owner of Bumble Bee Blinds’ founding location, come from families with more than 60 years of experience in the window covering industry. Each month, Luke shares this experience and perspective through informative blogs about the window covering industry to educate our customers about products, features, and questions to consider when buying window treatments. Regular readers hopefully won’t have to ask, “Where do I start?” when in the market for window coverings.