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Childproofing Window Blinds And Drapes



by Gabby Hyman
Repair Home Columnist

According to statistics, home injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits for children under three. The KidsHealth organization reports that children four and under comprise nearly 70 percent of all children who die from home injuries. Sadly, many homeowners with infants are unaware that their window blinds, curtains, drapes, and shades are a serious threat. It's important to make wise decisions in buying new window treatments and to consider retrofitting existing window coverings to save young lives.

The real culprit in most existing window accessories and treatment sets is the looped pull and adjustment cord system. Visit a home improvement store and you're likely to spot newer cordless designs with wand pulls or spring loaded lift and adjustment sets.

Since 1997, most vertical blinds, mini blinds, and drapery sets have been developed using the wand method, or at least employ tie downs and other safety features that keep cords away from crawling infants. If you have inherited older window-set designs when buying a home, it may behoove you to replace the units, call in a contractor for fitting advice, or at least retrofit the cords yourself.

Retrofitting Children's Bedroom Windows

Remember, all antiquated pull sets throughout the home are dangerous. But starting in the children's bedroom makes the most sense initially. The Window Covering Safety Council suggests that most window treatments purchased before 2001 have potential strangulation risks.

To retrofit these, cut all looped pull cords on the system and attach a tassel stay available from most home improvement stores. Thread the open-ended cord through the stay, tie a knot, and pull tight. Shade or horizontal blind sets can also be fitted with cord stops on each of the existing pull cords. Drapes or vertical blinds can be fitted with tie-down devices available at your local home improvement store.

Start Over and Select Safe Window Accessories

If you decide to purchase new blinds and drapes, consider recent models with safety break-away cords. You don't have to buy floor-length drapes. Mini blinds or roller shades are also good options. Don't be afraid to call a local window contractor for advice. Window valences provide a nice touch if you wish to keep the window blind or shade treatment to a bare minimum. They block bright overhead sun and offer exceptional value. There is a great variety of colors, styles, and patterns with cartoon characters, animals, or patchwork designs.

You can always compromise on style, but never on safety.

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About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.