European Union moves to tackle the hazards of Blind Cords.
It is welcome news indeed to hear of the introduction of three new European Standards that will improve the safety of internal window blinds.
Two years ago Joshua Wakeham, a two year old constituent of mine tragically died when he became trapped in the loop of a blind cord in his bedroom. This was unfortunately not a unique incident. Since 1999 twenty seven children have sadly lost their lives in the UK in similar circumstances.
Since then it has been encouraging to see this issue being taken seriously by many within Parliament and by such organisations as; The British Blinds & Shutter Association, The Child Accident Prevention trust and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Much has been done to raise awareness of the dangers of these blinds with safety packs and millions of brochures being distributed over the country.
However the ultimate goal has always been to instigate dramatic reform. Reforms of this kind can only be instigated through the European Union. Individual nations are unwilling to act on legislation that would harm their markets.
In 2009 the EU introduced the European Standard on 'Internal blinds - Performance requirements including safety' which were a great step in the right direction. These latest forms of regulations which can be seen below are continuation of the efforts of the EU to make sure no parent has to lose a child in these circumstances again.
EN 13120:2009+A1:2014 amends the previously existing European Standard on 'Internal blinds - Performance requirements including safety' (published in 2009), which specifies the requirements that internal blinds should fulfil when they are fitted to a building. The amendment considerably extends the scope of this text so that it covers not only venetian blinds, roller blinds, vertical blinds and pleated blinds – but also honeycomb blinds, Roman shades, Austrian/Festoon blinds, panel blinds, plantation shutters and roll-up blinds. It also significantly expands the clause on 'protection from strangulation' to address specific hazards posed by cords.
EN 16433:2014 'Internal blinds - Protection from strangulation hazards - Test methods' is a new standard that specifies test methods which can be used to verify that a window blind conforms to the requirements relating to 'protection from strangulation' as specified in EN 13120.
EN 16434:2014 'Internal blinds - Protection from strangulation hazards - Requirements and Test methods for safety devices' is a new standard that specifies requirements and test methods for safety devices that can help to improve the safety of window blinds and prevent accidents. These safety devices can either be fitted to window blinds during the manufacturing process or retro-fitted to window blinds that have already been installed.
We look forward to seeing a reduction in these tragedies which are still sadly taking place.