New European standards for child safe window blinds

New European standards for child safe window blinds

Very small children are eager to explore the world around them. If a child gets near a window blind, it may get trapped in the operating cord or chain and even be strangulated by it.Three new European standards will help manufacturers improve the child safety of internal window blinds. The standards were developed by CEN in response to a request from the European Commission, following reports of fatal accidents involving young children strangulated by loosely hanging cords.

Standard EN 13120+A1 amends the previously existing European standard (published in 2009), which specifies the requirements for internal blinds fitted to a building. It introduces a new paragraph on protection from strangulation, that applies to internal blinds installed in premises where children aged from 0 to 42 months are likely to be present (homes, schools, nurseries etc.). The other two standards deal specifically with the risk of strangulation by window blinds. NBN EN 16433 specifies test methods for verifying that a window blind meets the requirements relating to protection from strangulation.

Finally, NBN EN 16434 specifies safety devices used to improve safety and prevent accidents. Such devices include chain-break connectors that will break apart and disconnect the cord when undue pressure is applied on the operating chain. Cord/chain tensioners make sure the operating cord or chain remains out of the reach of children

The publication of these new standards has been welcomed byEuropean consumer organisation ANEC, which participated in their development. Anne Smith and Mike Hayes, experts in child safety, see it as a move towards reducing the number of serious accidents involving window blinds. Vigilance is nevertheless required, because the hundreds of millions of blinds already installed in homes continue to pose a risk.

Therefore, parents still have a key role to play, and raising public awareness is essential in order to minimize the risk.