THE ISSUE OF window blind cords and the dangers posed by them have been highlighted regularly in recent years. Since 2005, there have been at least five cases where children in Ireland died after becoming entangled in loops or chains.
The National Standards Authority of Ireland has announced three new EU safety measures concerning blinds today, after they were signed off by the European Commission.
Irish standards governing the area were introduced by the agency in 2012, and the NSAI says “it was anticipated that achieving European wide consensus on these standards would take a number of years”.
The EU standards announced today govern areas like ‘fitting requirements’, ‘test methods’ and ‘test methods for safety devices’ (they’re a little complex, and largely concern the production process — but more details are here if you’re interested).
The agency’s also reminding parents of steps they can take to protect their children from the hazards caused by blinds, namely:
- Cords should end at least 1.6 metres above the ground so children cannot reach them. Replace cords with curtain or blind wands.
- Where cords cannot be cut, a tie-down or tension device should be used to pull the cord tight and secure it to the floor or wall.
- Never place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or high chair near a window or patio door where a child could reach a curtain or blind cord.
- Keep sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases away from windows to prevent children climbing up and reaching curtain or blind cords.