While most parents are aware of the obvious danger zones like cooktops and low cupboards containing cleaning products it’s the seemingly innocuous which can harbour hidden danger.

Blind and curtain cords have the potential to harm babies and children, who can be easily entangled in the loops.

To minimise the risk to children, all new corded blinds, curtains and window coverings must comply with a national safety standard.

All new window coverings supplied to rental properties must follow the mandatory standard.  The Competition and Consumer (Corded Internal Window Coverings) Safety Standard, which commenced on 1 January 2015, applies to the installation of corded internal window coverings in residential buildings.

Installers of window coverings must now follow these measurement and labelling requirements:

  • Window coverings that form a loop of 220 mm or longer must be at least 1,600 mm above floor level.
  • If part of the cord is less than 1,600 mm above floor level, the cord must be secured or tensioned to prevent the formation of a loop 220 mm or longer.
  • A cleat can be used to secure a cord must be installed at least 1,600 mm above floor level.
  • The internal window covering must be installed in accordance with the installation instructions on any retail packaging.
  • A label must be attached to the corded window covering with the name and contact details of the person or company responsible for the installation.

Blinds and curtain cords supplied before 2010 can be made safe by either cutting the cords or hooking them up out of harm’s way.

Safety tassels, which join the ends of blind cords together and separate when pressure is applied, are available from hardware stores.

Alternatively, blind cords can be wrapped securely around hooks attached high on the wall.

The standard is not retrospective, so homeowners should check to ensure any pre-existing cords were safely installed. More information on the new standard and window covering cord safety can be obtained from the Product Safety Australia website at www.productsafety.gov.au.