How to Choose Pet and Child Safe Blinds

How to Choose Pet and Child Safe Blinds
BY BLINDSTER | October 01, 2014
September 23, 2023

Did you know that corded window coverings can present a deadly hazard to children in your home? The Consumer Product Safety Commission's page on window covering cords states that a child can injure themselves or even die from cord strangulation in a matter of minutes, often silently and even with an adult nearby.

"On average," it states, "about 9 children under 5 years of age die every year from strangling in window blinds, shades, draperies and other window coverings with cords."

Preventing these tragedies is possible, and there are a number of things that can be done to stop this from happening in your home.

Some Background

Tension device

Almost all of the strangulation incidents occur because the child has access to window coverings made before 2000. The first recommendation of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is to buy new window coverings if what you have in your windows was manufactured before 2001.

Since 2000, there have been many changes to the way we make window coverings that minimize the choking hazard. The most common way that a child can strangle himself with cords on a horizontal blind (most common window covering in the U.S.) is to pull the lift cords out from between 2 slats in the blind, creating a loop that is large enough to allow the child to stick his head inside the loop. As a result, a significant change was made to the way horizontal blinds are made: there is now a stop placed on the lift cords, just below the headrail (metal piece at the top the holds all the mechanisms). This stop prevents the cords from being pulled out from the bottom of the blind.

Other significant regulated changes have also been put in place:

  • Warning labels are attached to all corded window coverings
  • All lift cords are restricted in some way (varies by product but similar to the changes made with horizontal blinds) so that a loop cannot be formed that is large enough for a child's head.
  • Cord cleats are available with all corded window coverings - these are used to secure the cords when the shade is stationary.
  • Marketing campaigns have made consumers much more aware of the hazard.

All of the products that Blindster sells conform to the current U. S. regulations for window coverings. But remember there still is a small risk with any type of corded blind or shade. In honor of October, Child Safety Month, it's our goal to show you what you can do to eliminate this small risk by selecting products that eliminate or minimize cords.

Go Cordless

Cordless cellular shades

The simplest and safest solution is to remove any window coverings that have dangling cords and replace them with cordless versions. There are numerous cordless lift and even motorized blinds and shades that eliminate dangling cords and the hazard that comes with them. 

Best Pet and Child Safe Blinds

Here are some ideas for blinds and shades to use in your home:

Cordless: All you do is gently push them up or pull them down using the bottom of the shade to operate them. These blinds and shades will not have lift cords that hang down from the blind/shade – practically guaranteeing the safety of your pets and children. Most of these products still have lift cords that run down through the slats or fabric of the blinds, sometimes visible and sometimes not:

Motor-Operated: Yes, your blinds can be operated just as easily as your TV, with motorized blinds and shades. You simply use a remote control to operate your blinds. Motors and remotes can get a little pricey but some of the more economical motor options are:

  • Cellular shades and roller shades can be lifted with a motor.
  • Horizontal blinds can be tilted with a reasonably-priced motor but motors that lift horizontal blinds are fairly expensive.

You Can Never be Too Careful with your Child's Safety!

Here are some things you can do right now, regardless of what type of window covering you currently have (and as a stop-gap until you're able to get new cordless blinds or shades):

  • Replace all of your older window coverings as soon as possible
  • Install your blinds according to the instructions, using all safety options: cord tension devices (Continuous Cord Loop), cord cleats, etc.
  • With corded blinds, you can use a cord cleat to secure the lift cords or cut them shorter so that they are less accessible to children (be sure the blind is fully lowered and the cord is at its shortest when you do this).
  • Make sure to position cribs and play pens so that the blinds' cords are not reachable (even when/if they climb), and move any furniture that would allow cords to be accessible if a child were to climb up.  

We hope these tips help to keep your little ones safe – as well as any children that may visit your home.