This is a sponsored post on behalf of WindowCoverings.org. All opinions are my own.
As parents of small children, we understand the importance of baby-proofing our homes for the early years.
We install baby gates, cover outlets, move or secure furniture and pick-up small choking hazards throughout the house for baby’s safety.
But there is one area we forget about…or just don’t pay much attention to: child-proofing window coverings.
And window coverings are 1 of the top 5 hidden hazards in the home.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, other top hazards include magnets, recalled products, furniture that can tip over and pools/spa drains.
But window coverings are the MOST overlooked baby and child hazard.
Keeping Child Safety in Mind
From a parent’s perspective, I get it. Windows don’t automatically come to mind — they are built into the house and the window coverings that we use are often inherited from the previous homeowners.
Even my own home which we bought just 5 years ago included out-dated blinds — the real estate market was quick to highlight the fact that the windows were new…but I didn’t realize the coverings were not.
So parents may forget about childproofing windows early on, or just wait to update them at another time — because they can be expensive to replace.
But therein lies the danger…putting things off.
And accidents and hazards happen when we least expect them.
Now more than ever, paying attention to these hazards around the home is essential. With more and more time spent indoors at home it just makes sense.
So how do you go about making changes for your child’s safety?
Well, first consider the age of your children — if you have small children in the home, you know that curiosity is a big driver of exploration. Kids see something new and want to play with it. This is especially true as your child grows from a baby to toddler to preschooler.
Children have a wild imagination — and pretend play is the norm.
They see a dangling cord and may think — a vine to swing like a monkey, a lasso to round up my animals, or may just innocently tug at it out of curiosity and end up in a seriously compromising position.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from a pediatrician was to put myself in my child’s shoes when baby proofing — and literally get down to their level and crawl around the house to see it from their perspective.
So I like to take that piece of advice and apply it to everything else around the home. Because then it helps me take note of household dangers and understand what’s at stake.
HOW TO CHILDPROOF WINDOW COVERINGS
Now that you can truly understand the hazards window coverings pose, consider your options for childproofing.
Install Cordless Window Coverings
First look around your house, and check your windows. Go from room to room and take note of the type of window coverings installed — blinds or shades, look closely to see if they are cordless.
If they aren’t, the best fix is to replace the window coverings just like you would replace any recalled baby products.
Because the truth is, long or dangling cords can lead to entanglement or become a strangulation risk for small children.
There’s no use in keeping things in the house that pose a serious risk to your family, especially if you have small children.
Instead, the first thing to do is to research and install the safest alternatives — cordless window coverings.
If you’re not sure where to start, no need to worry, because a new US Safety Standard requires that all stock products be cordless or have inaccessible cords. Meaning, that’s what stores will have in stock! Look for products marked with a Best for Kids™ certification label.
The label lets you know that window coverings have gone through third-party testing and are specifically designed for use in homes with young children.
Keep Cords Out of Reach
If you’re unable to update to cordless window coverings right away, make sure the cords are out of reach and not accessible to children as a short-term fix.
This may mean wrapping the cords up and securing them at the very top of the window.
You can also shorten or cut tasseled pull cords — so kids can’t reach them.
The key is to keep the cords hidden and inaccessible until you’re able to replace the coverings with cordless and safer alternatives.
Move furniture away from windows
Another helpful tip to keep cords out of reach, is to look at the furniture in and around your windows.
Do they make it easy for your child to access windows and/or the hidden cords?
Think stools, chairs, bureaus or other furniture kids can climb on to reach.
Start with your child’s nursery or bedroom. Move the crib away from any windows — this may be tricky depending on the layout of your home, but it is worth the extra caution.
Even if your crib is on the adjacent wall to the window, take a close look at the distance to the window — toddlers can be quite clever in planning an escape. Don’t overlook the small things when it comes to baby safety!
As you make adjustments to your home to protect your children, keep a reminder of when you plan to replace corded window coverings with cordless window coverings.
Because when you have small children, it’s easy to forget and leave things on the ever-growing to-do list.
Taking initiative early on will help to prevent accidents and keep your children as safe as possible while at home.
To learn more about window cord safety and cordless window coverings during National Window Covering Safety Month and throughout the year, visit WindowCoverings.org.
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.