In recent news and reporting, people are becoming aware that window treatments may not be as safe as once considered. In the United States of America, the Consumer Product Safety Council (CPSC), has identified several possible significant risks associated with window blinds. These are sometimes called "hidden dangers" or hidden risks. Fortunately for those willing to make a few changes, the known dangers can be corrected, both on new wood blinds, as well as on existing wood blinds.
Most of the risks associated here are with cord loops getting tangled around children's necks, and we will address these risks and others, and show how to make safer wood blinds. A significant reason for concern is the quality and composition of the paints used in wood blinds. It used to be that paints for nearly all products had lead content. This lead helped paints adhere, or stick, better to the products underneath. These lead paints were used on house walls, toys, and even in window treatments. It is advisable that if your home has older painted walls, you should have this situation addressed, either by hiring a specialty contractor, or by painting the walls with the newer style paints.
With wood blinds, however, the solution is far easier to correct. Recently manufactured wood blinds, however, will not use this lead-based paint. While the paints may appear a bit different from the older styles, the new methods have been able to ensure long life, but more than that, removing lead from wood blinds has made them into safer products all around. Simply replace the wood blinds. If your blinds are old enough to have lead, then it is surely time to update to the modern styles. Get the lead out, now.
The most well known risk for wood blinds, is a danger related to the cords which dangle in front of the wood blinds. These cords can create a dangerous loop, from which can young children can be hurt. We all know that children play with these types of dangling strings and tassels, so the first point of safety is to discourage this playing with the wood blinds' cords.
The next safety measure is to ensure that the cords are not connected to each other in a window blind. The next danger for wood blinds is a bit more hidden. This one is what is called interior cords.
These interior cords are the ones that pass inside the blinds- from slat to slat to the bottom of the wood blind. The cords in wood blinds, can be pulled out to form a large enough loop that the head of a child can become entangled in them. This risk has been a potential risk, as there may not yet be any confirmed injuries from this issue. However, one can secure wood blinds by using a retrofit kit which will prevent this "reverse motion" of the wood blinds cords to create this loop. This simple measure may be enough to prevent all problems for the future for this risk. While these pieces which attach to the cords may not make the wood blinds look beautiful, they do make safer wood blinds.
Wood blinds manufactured these days must comply with the Consumer Product Safety Council rules, which state that there cannot be multiple cords connected to a single tassel. Basically, each cord must have its own tassel on a wood blind. It will make your blinds dangerous if you connect the cords, tie them in knots, or allow them to become entangled.
Keep wood blinds cords separate from each other and out of knots. A danger not often discussed is that of the wood blinds and improper installation. A wood blind must be installed firmly into a solid surface in order to ensure that it does not detach or fall off. Often blinds installers will rush and only insert a single screw, when at least two are required. Sometimes installer will not check the strength of a screw placement, and they will not realize that the screws are improperly locked into the walls.
Check the installation of your wood blinds by verifying how many screws are there, and ensuring that they are all firm and tightly placed. This can prevent a blind from falling on top of the person lying underneath when the cords are pulled. Wood blinds sold today are substantially safer than those of the past.
Wood blinds can have safer cords, and can be installed more securely, but it is always going to be the responsibility of the homeowner to make a regular safety check in the home. When the check gets to the wood blinds, homeowners should check that the cords are not looped, that they are not knotted, and that the blinds are still firmly in place, and not pulling out of the wall. Take the time to verify that you have safe wood blinds- it is worth it.
Judith Persit is an interior designer specializing in window treatments. Judith writes about wood blinds. Learn more about blinds by visting that site.