Blind Cord Safety
Following consultations and in conjunction with the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA), RoSPA, British Standards Institute (BSI), the UK Government and the EU introduced stringent new standards governing the manufacture, selling and installation of new blinds in 2014.
This change in the law tightened safety regulations for blinds and shutters in the European Union, following 27 fatalities since 1999 where toddlers and young children have become entangled with internal window blind cords and chains in the UK alone. The EU issued three new regulations which now require all existing blinds to be made safe using a retrofit safety device, and all cords and chains to be fitted with a safety device at the point of manufacture. The regulations require: safety devices to prevent cords or chains from forming a hazard the testing of all safety critical items of internal blinds the testing of blinds using safety devices the installation of safety devices on all blinds in manufacture maximum cord and chain lengths – must end 1.5 metres above the floor warnings and instructions in packaging at point-of-sale information. 27 children have died in the UK since 1999 following entanglement with a blind or curtain cord or chain. Toddlers have been most at risk of becoming entangled in a blind cord as they are inquisitive, and are especially vulnerable to strangulation. Awareness raising Landlords need to be aware of these regulations, and should be looking to buy new blinds for their rental properties that are of a safe design – for example, blinds that are operated by wands rather than cords or chains. Although the new standards do not apply to blinds already installed, it is in all landlords’ interests to replace any old fittings with blinds which meet the new standards.
It is particularly important to ensure that blinds and curtains supplied in rental properties meet these regulations, otherwise, if there is an accident the landlord could be held liable.