What You Should Know About Blinds and Protecting Your Kids and Pets
Nothing adds that final touch of class to windows like a carefully chosen treatment, such as curtains, blinds, shades, or shutters. However, the last thing that homeowners want to do is install a window treatment that could pose a severe risk for a child or pet. It is vital to know how to protect small children and animals in your home from being caught on cords. Follow the steps below to keep the most helpless in your household from being hurt.
Use Cordless Window Treatments If Possible
The best possible way to protect your children and pets from accidental strangulation is to eliminate all cords completely. Replace corded blinds or shades with window treatments that don’t need any loose cords for operation. A cordless look is also often more attractive and cleaner, so your home will likely gain aesthetically from that decision, too. While you can replace corded blinds with shutters or spring-loaded roller shades, you can also choose from a wide variety of cordless blinds that can be raised and lowered with a light touch. Also look at batterypowered blinds and shades that can be operated remotely for the ultimate hands-off approach. Keep in mind that some cordless window treatments still use internal cords and cables to operate the slats, so make sure that you understand the potential risks with those options, too.
Don’t Forget to Install Cleats and Pulleys
Since children and animals often become trapped with looped cords, one of the best steps you can take is to install cleats and pulleys that will eliminate the loops. Cleats are simple hooks that permit you to wrap the cord ends around them. Cleats keep the cords taut and prevent children or pets from inserting their heads. When using cleats, wind the cords around them in a figure-eight pattern to prevent accidental unraveling and to make it more difficult for curious kids to untie the cords. In addition, be sure that your cleats are placed as high as possible to keep the cord ends out of reach. When installing cleats, don’t forget that kids have a longer reach than you might expect and that clever toddlers might be able to use a stool or chair to grab cords. In addition, always tie cords with all slack removed. Cut them shorter if that will help you tie them more neatly and efficiently.
Replace Old Window Treatments With New Ones
Another helpful hint that can protect your kids and pets is to get rid of old window treatments and replace them with new ones. The window coverings industry has advanced safety standards numerous times over the past decades, resulting in steady improvements in product safety. For example, the elimination of internal cords that can be easily slipped out of blinds is one advancement that helps prevent accidents. To ensure you have the safest window treatments, throw out obsolete products or those that have safety defects. The Consumer Product Safety Commission regularly publishes lists of recalls for unsafe products, so be sure you reference their website to keep abreast of developments. In addition, some states maintain their own safety information online, and these sources can prove helpful in identifying unsafe window treatments.
Prevent Easy Access to Window Blinds
While you can’t expect young children and pets to truly understand the strangulation danger posed by cords, you can discourage and limit access to them. For example, never use cords as a toy or object of attention for kids or animals. In addition, should a child or pet access cords, be sure to provide an appropriate, sharp correction to let them know cords are off-limits. If you take these preventative measures, you can enjoy the beauty of your window treatments without worrying about potential harm they could cause to children or pets.