Blinds Must Not Be Dangerous for Children
Children are the most important part of our lives. They love learning new information and discovering the world that surrounds them. We all know their inquisitive questions like, “And why?” or their favourite, “What is this?” It is very important to protect them from potential dangers posed by ordinary home accessories, appliances and furniture. But, unfortunately, also blinds and roller blinds can be potentially dangerous for infants and small children.
A new EN standard (in fact, 3 new standards) has been valid as of 1 September 2014. The main one is EN 13120, newly regulating the protection of children from the hazard of strangulation in dangerous loops, which can form in the internal blinds and roller blinds operated by chains and cords. This standard must be adhered to in all places accessible by children up to 42 months of age, like flats, detached houses, hotels, hospitals, churches, retail shops, schools, and generally all public areas.
Safe method of operation of blinds and roller blinds is provided by using a wheel, a handle, a motor operated by a switch or a remote controller, or using a control bar. These operating controls do not employ any chains or cords, the strangulation hazard is therefore eliminated completely.
When selecting interior blinds or roller blinds, you certainly want them to fulfil your requirements for interior shading, optical and thermal comfort for work and relaxation, while reducing the air-conditioning costs and completing the interiors according to your conceptions. But do not forget to take safety of your children into consideration.
The best way to eliminate the strangulation hazard completely is to keep the cord out of the reach of children or to have the operating cord equipped with a breakaway system, or a fixed tensioning system.
The ISOTRA blinds and roller blinds represent a top-level technical solution meeting the requirements for modern design. As a matter of course, our company intends to fulfil the specifications of the EN 13120 standard for child safety, and therefore we have developed the following proprietary protective elements.
1. Keeping the cord out of the reach of children
If installation height is not specified, the pull cord length shall be less than or equal to 2/3 of the blind height.
If installation height is specified, the bottom part of the pull cord shall be at least 60 cm from the floor.
This can be achieved by using a reel or two wheels, preventing the cords from forming loops, while keeping them out of the reach of children:
2. Breakaway system
A dangerous loop at the chain must be eliminated when a mass of 6 kg is applied or within 5 seconds of application, which is provided by a chain connection (when a load is applied, the chain breaks away).
3. Fixed Tensioning System
The fixed tensioning system prevents the cord loop from loosening. The distance between two loop strands shall not exceed 50 mm at the output of the fixed tensioning device, and at the same time, the pull cords shall be limited as follows:
- where installation height is not specified, and the blind height is less than or equal to 2.5 m, the pull cord length shall be less than or equal to 1 m,
- where installation height is not specified, and the blind height exceeds 2.5 m, the pull cord length shall be less than or equal to the height of the blind minus the value of 1.5 m,
- where installation height is specified, the bottom part of the pull cord shall be at least 1.5 m from the floor.
A pulley is used to tension the pull chain, so that it is impossible for the loop to form between two strands of the chain. The pulley is attached to a window frame and the chain cannot be removed.
It is the manufacturer’s duty to supply the protective elements together with the product and to call attention to their installation in the assembly instructions. Also, sellers and installation companies bear responsibility to inform the customers of the supplied safety elements; moreover, the installation companies are responsible for installing said elements.
Other duties implied by the new standard, which can be easily checked, include the duty of the manufacturer to attach a warning label in the national language to each interior blind or roller blind that can form a dangerous loop and which is expected to be installed in places where children can a occur. The wording of the warning label is also specified in the EN 13120 standard, it is identical and binding for all manufacturers, and has the following form:
- Young children can be strangled by loops in pull cords, chains, tapes and inner cords that operate the product.
- To avoid strangulation and entanglement, keep cords out of the reach of young children. Cords may become wrapped around a child’s neck.
- Move beds, cots and furniture away from window covering cords.
- Do not tie cords together. Make sure cords do not twist and create a loop.
The same text must also be indicated on the product’s packaging.