Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Firstly, before I address a few of the key points surrounding Child Safety and window shading, a short disclaimer - THIS IS NOT A DEFINITIVE LIST OF THE REGULATIONS AFFECTING CHILD SAFETY, FOR FULL INFORMATION YOU SHOULD REFER TO THE BBSA WEBSITE OR THE MAKE IT SAFE CAMPAIGN WEBSITE.
Why is child safety so important?
Well the short answer is as follows: To make sure that young children do not harm or injure themselves on long control cords or chains on blinds or curtains. The official legislation is BS EN 13120:2009+A1:2014. The regulations do not apply retrospectively but it may be in your best interests to make all blinds and corded curtains child-safe.
Where do the rules apply?
In all public buildings, homes and commercial premises where children aged 0-42 months old may have access. This includes Schools, Colleges, Hospitals, Religious buildings, Community Halls, Shops, Restaurants and any other building in which children may have access.
What are the laws regarding child-safe blinds?
The child safety regulations apply to all blinds fitted in homes, public buildings and any commercial premises where children aged 0-42 months old could have access. The laws say that any cords or chains in the situations mentioned above must have safety devices fitted, must have limitations on chain/cord length, that the safety devices must be tested and product instructions should be left with the blinds. I will go into more detail as to the exact rules further on.
What blinds are ‘Safe-By-Design’?
Some types of blinds do not need child safety devices fitted or have limitations on the length of their controls because they are ‘Safe-by-design’. This means that they do not have exposed cords or chains that could get tangled up or form a loop in anyway and are inherently child safe wherever they are fitted. Types of blind that are ‘safe-by-design’ include crank handle and electrically operated roller blinds, wand operated vertical blinds, hand drawn curtains, some types of tensioned pleated blinds and shutters.
How do we make blinds child-safe?
It depends on the situation and location in which we are fitting the blinds but mainly in schools and public buildings we use child safe cord tidies that are securely fitted to a wall or surface 1.5 metres from floor level, and the control chain or cord of the blind which runs in a continuous loop through the safety device, as through the years since 2014 when the regulations came in we have proved this to be the most successful and robust method. In domestic homes we generally use child safe easy-break connectors where possible and these are designed to part under excess pressure therefore removing any loops from the chain. Of course we also use other methods as well such as using cleat-hooks for securing the controls of venetian and other cord controlled blinds. We have found there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to the extremely important issue of child-safety therefore each job has the potential for the use of different child-safety techniques to ensure our blinds are fully compliant.
Exact regulations on child safe blinds in areas where the rules apply:
- The safety or tensioning device must be a minimum of 1.5 metres from floor level.
- If using breakaway chain connectors then chains must be no less than 0.6 metres from floor level.
- Warning labels and instructions should be left with customer.
Thank you for reading, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions surrounding child safe blinds.