In 2003, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that at least 160 children have died since 1991 from strangulation on window coverings -- that is more than one death per month. Safety experts recommend that you replace all of the window blinds in your home with cordless blinds, but you need to understand that replacement is not always an option. You can retrofit your existing blinds to eliminate the suffocation hazard.
Blinds with Pull Cord
Use a pair of scissors to cut the looped pull cord of your blinds above the tassel and remove the buckle, if present on the cord. Looped pull cords are common in blinds made before 1994. Your child can get his head stuck in between the loop and wrap himself in the cord. Separating the loop helps prevent a child from getting caught in the loop.
Thread a safety tassel on the end of each cord and secure into place with a knot. Check the knot by tugging on the tassel. A safety tassel is a cone-shaped piece of plastic with a hole in the top and bottom of the cone. The tassel keeps the knot at the end of the cord protected and helps keep the two ends of the cord separate, preventing strangulation.
Lower your blinds to the windowsill. Pinch one of the cords about 2 inches below the head rail -- the portion of the blinds that mounts to the top of the window opening -- of the blinds and create a small loop with about 1 inch of a tail of the cord hanging down from your finger. Slide one cord stop over the loop of the cord and hold it into place with your fingers. Take the tail end of the cord and thread it through the loop behind the cord stop. Pull the cord through the loop to make a knit and secure the cord stop in place. A cord stop is a small, circular piece of metal or plastic that prevents the cord from being pulled down through the slats and creating a loop in the cord, which poses a strangulation risk.
Blinds with a Continuous Loop Pulley System
Pull the bottom part of the continuous loop until it is taut. Blinds with a continuous loop pull cord cannot be cut and instead need to be secured with a tie-down device to keep the loop taut. A tie-down device is similar to a cleat you would see on a boat dock. The device has a horn shape end that the cord slides under; the horn keeps the cord taut -- allowing smooth operation -- while preventing a child from removing the cord from the device and creating a loose loop in the cord. Tie-down devices can be either plastic or metal.
Place the tie-down device on the wall or floor and loop the end of the cord over the bottom rounded part of the tie down. Adjust the tie-down up or down to make the cord as taut as possible. Use a pencil to mark the screw hole of the tie-down.
Use a drill to drill a small hole where you marked the wall or floor with the pencil. Put the tie-down device back on the wall or floor and line up the predrilled hole and the tie-down device. Secure the loop into place and screw the device to the wall or floor.