This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. A large print version is available.
These cords can pose a strangulation hazard to children as loops can be formed and children become entangled. There have been several child fatalities in recent years.
Most deaths have been children between 16 and 36 months old, and the majority have been in children’s’ bedrooms, especially where cots or beds have been close to the windows.
If you make and supply window blinds and curtains cords you must be alert to the dangers posed by Window Blind Cords and Curtain Cords and to your responsibilities under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.
The Regulations require you to manufacture and sell "Safe Products'.
A 'Safe Product' is one which under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use including duration and, where applicable, putting into service, installation and maintenance requirements does not present any risk or only the minimum risk compatible with the products use, considered to be acceptable and consistent with a high level of protection for the safety and health of persons.
A new Standard, BS EN 13120:2009 (Internal Blinds – Performance Requirements Including Safety) is assisting businesses in manufacturing and supplying products which are safe for consumer use. The EU Decision extends the scope.
This standard can be obtained from
BSI British Standards
389 Chiswick High Road
London W4 4AL
tel 0208 996 9001
A European Commission Decision of the 27 July 2011 also now addresses certain risks posed to children by internal blinds, corded window coverings and safety devices. This represents a new law and is in addition to the provisions in BS EN 13120:2009.
The safety requirements shall apply to all internal blinds and corded window coverings whatever their design and the nature of the materials used, such as:
Draperies, insect screens and blinds in sealed-glazed units, if operated with cords, chains and ball-chains or similar, which are accessible and form a hazardous loop are also subject to these requirements.
These safety requirements shall refer to children (young children) aged from 0 to 42 months as a minimum.
In defining performance requirements for internal blinds and corded window coverings, it is essential to consider their reasonable foreseeable conditions of use, and the potential hazards that can result from accessible cord(s), chain(s), ball- chain(s) or similar to children.
In order to reduce the risk of strangulation and internal asphyxiation internal window blinds (and corded window coverings) shall be of an inherently safe design. Every possible means, based in the state of the art and technology, shall be considered for the safe design of the product, when used in all reasonably foreseeable environments where young children have access to or are likely to be present, such as, for example, homes, hotels, hospitals, churches, shops, schools, nurseries, and public places in general. Blinds and window coverings to be fitted in offices or any other place, which is transformed from its initial destination and where young children are likely to be present, shall also be subject to the present requirements.
Internal blinds and corded window coverings that have accessible cord(s), chain(s), ball-chain(s) or similar shall comply with the following minimum requirements:
Warnings shall be provided, in a clear and conspicuous way at the point of sale, on the package, on the product and in the information for use. The warnings shall convey at least the following:
Internal blinds or corded window coverings fitted with the relevant safety device(s), shall fulfil the requirements set out in section 2.
The safety device(s) shall be accompanied by the following warnings, information and instructions:
Hampshire Trading Standards
Monarch Way, Winchester SO22 5PW
tel 01962 833620
fax 01962 833699
Hampshire Trading Standards have put together a pack to reduce the risk.
This is only for Hampshire County Council residents.
The pack contains
Make it safe advice leaflet
One cleat - to tie cords up safely
Fixing instructions for the cleat
Blind safety warning tag
tel 01962 833620
Some packs have been supplied to libraries, community centres, and in some in GP surgeries.