The mandatory standard for internal blinds, curtains and window fittings (corded internal window coverings) was declared on 8 July 2010 and applies to relevant blinds, curtains and some fittings supplied after 30 December 2010. This page includes information on hazards and how to comply with the national mandatory standard.
Australian homes often have blinds, curtains and other window coverings that are manipulated by cords or chains.
Corded internal window coverings are window coverings that can be used inside a building and are either:
window coverings, such as curtains or blinds with a cord, or
fittings used with a window covering, such as a traverse rod or track.
Children can become entangled in blind or curtain cords if they try to use, play with or play around window coverings. Even with raised coverings, children can climb onto window sills or furniture to access the cords. Cords or looped cords that become tangled around a child’s neck can very quickly cause strangulation.
Cords can also strangle infants sleeping or playing in cots placed near a window where cords are within reach, or hang into the cot.
The US CPSC has reported 200 deaths attributable to blind or curtain cords between 1991 and 2005. Since 2006, there have been five deaths and 16 near strangulations associated with Roman shades. Roll-up blinds have been associated with at least three deaths since 2001.
In Australia, there have been at least 15 deaths related to blind or curtain cords since 2001. There are regular recalls of these products due to safety risks both in Australia and overseas.
The purpose of this mandatory standard is to introduce a national safety standard for corded internal window coverings to reduce the incidence of, and potential for, death and injuries to young children. The mandatory standard requires that:
corded internal window coverings supplied after 30 December 2010 must be provided with warning labels that highlight the strangulation hazard to children
corded internal window coverings must be accompanied by installation instructions and any components specified in the installation instructions.
Corded internal window coverings have been associated with hundreds of deaths and many near strangulations. It is an offence to supply corded internal window coverings that do not comply with the requirements of this mandatory standard. For complete information about the mandatory requirements, we strongly recommend you read:
The requirements noted below are key requirements only. They may help to give suppliers a general idea of the detail they must look up in the mandatory standard. This information may also assist consumers when they are choosing or inspecting new and existing corded internal window coverings.
While we provide some advice on this page to help you understand aspects of the standard, suppliers must not rely on this information as a complete guide to compliance.
The warning label or swing tag mentioned in paragraph must contain the words:
'WARNING: Young children have died by wrapping loose curtain and blind cords or chains around their necks. Secure cords or chains with cord guides or keep them out of reach by winding them around a cleat. Move cots and furniture away from window covering cords or chains. Do not remove this label'.
The words specified must be:
with the word 'WARNING' in upper case letters at least 5 mm high and the other words in lower case letters at least 1.5 mm high.
a statement that, to avoid creating a possible strangulation hazard for children, the corded internal window covering must be installed in such a way that a loose cord cannot form a loop 220 mm or longer at a height of less than 1,600 mm above floor level
practical suggestions on how to install the corded internal window covering
a statement that a cord guide may be installed lower than 1,600 mm above floor level if the cord is sufficiently secured or tensioned to prevent a loop 220 mm or longer from being formed
a statement that if a cord guide is installed lower than 1,600 mm above floor level it must be designed to prevent a child from being able to remove the cord
a statement that if a cleat is used to secure the cord it must be at least 1,600 mm above floor level because a child is capable of unwinding a cord from a cleat.