Windows and Balconies:
Children have a fascination with windows and also love to climb. Because they do not understand danger, it is most important to keep children away from windows and balconies.
- Injury at and around windows and balconies can occur from:
- getting caught up in curtain or blind cords
- Take action now:
- Secure all windows with window restrictors that do not require tools for opening – remember it is important to be able to escape in case of fire.
- Make it harder for children to climb onto window ledges or to reach a curtain or blind cord - do not place furniture, beds, cots, toy boxes etc near windows.
- The edges of a window sill can hurt, so you may need to soften those hard edges by using the same corner cushions you use for sharp edges on tables and other furniture. Similarly, if you have wooden hold backs for curtain, make sure they are positioned so that young children won't run into them.
- Get rid of any gaps in balcony railings that a child could fit through or use as a foothold to climb on.
- Do not place anything children could climb on near balcony railings. This includes items such as outdoor furniture, plant pots or boxes.
- Make sure your child cannot get out onto the balcony without your supervision.
- Check out a Temple Street Hospital study which found a high prevalence of window falls among boys under 5 years of age.
Blinds and curtain cords:
Blind and curtain cords are a serious strangulation risk to children.
Do not fit blinds and curtains with cords attached.
Make existing blinds or curtains safer - take action now and follow the advice of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission:
- Cords ending in a loop are particularly risky.
- Cut the cord to get rid of the loop and install tassels.
- The cords should end at least 1.6 metres (5 feet 3 inches) above the ground so children cannot reach them.
- Do not knot or tie the ends together after cutting the cord - this creates a new loop which a child could become tangled in.
- Replace cords with curtain or blind wands, but avoid possible eye injuries by making sure children cannot reach them.
Where cords cannot be cut, a tie down or tension device can be used to pull the cord tight and secure it to the floor or wall. This is also a solution for vertical blinds with continuous loop cords.
Never place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or high chair near a window or patio door where a child could reach a curtain or blind cord.
Keep sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases away from windows to prevent children climbing up and reaching curtain or blind cords.
For more information, please see the NSAI leaflet, Safety Awareness for Window Blinds and the NSAI Tips on Window Blind Safety.
Text and diagrams courtesy of the Competion and Consumer Protection Commission
This YouTube content, and anything which may follow it (if you are using autoplay), is outside of our control.
- Highlighting the dangers associated with window blind cords: It takes only seconds for a toddler to lose their life on a window blind cord as this video shows. Warning: some viewers may find this video disturbing - viewer discretion is advised. (from NI Direct in association with Public Health Agency and ROSPA).
- A grieving mother's warning: Listen to one mother as she appeals to parents not to use corded window blinds in their homes. This appeal follows the death of her 23 month old baby from a window blind cord injury.
Most unintentional injuries (often called accidents) can be prevented:
Remember the key message where child safety is concerned -
Watch your child at all times, as children do not understand danger