We all know that most accidents happen in the home. Once you consider that most other accidents happen in the workplace, it becomes clear that we all need to prioritise safety wherever we are. This is no different in the window shading industry. So, how can we help clients to make sure their spaces are as safe as possible.

Child Safety

It would be almost impossible to discuss the issue of safety without first looking at the vitally important topic of child safety.

It’s a sad fact but the looped cords and chains used to operate many window blinds can pose a very real and lethal risk of strangulation to young and vulnerable children. In fact, it is estimated that one or two die every year.

Helping us to protect against these kinds of accidents are safety standards like the BS EN 13120 which has been in place since 2014 and specifically lays out directions for the manufacture and installation of cord-operated blinds. There is a lot of important but complex information covered, and revisions of previous iterations, so it can quickly get confusing.

A few key points to remember about the BS EN 13120 are:

• It applies to blinds that MAY be accessible to children between 0-42 months old

• Since 2014, compliance is required by all internal window blinds

• Blinds must be safe by design or;

• Supplied with the appropriate child safety devices installed

Blinds that are considered ‘safe by design’ are usually operated by alternative means eg. tensioned pleated blinds or wand operated verticals. By eliminating the looped cords and chains, these options and other such as motorised rollers are inherently child-safe, and we recommend making it your best practice to consider them as your first choice for any install, especially when they are to be fitted somewhere like a child’s bedroom.

As motorised operation becomes the norm and we begin to see control options like wall switches, handheld remotes and smartphone apps entering the market, we’re optimistic that the industry is heading in a direction that will see all window blinds become inherently child-safe.

Currently, however, cords and chains are sometimes unavoidable so, even when they are limited to the correct length, they must be accompanied by child safety devices. These can come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the type of blind, but their primary function is to either break the loop when pressure is applied or to tension the cord and restrict the distance between strands to 50mm or less.

Whether a manufacturer, retailer or fitter, it’s clear that we must all be aware of the regulations that are in place to protect our clients, children and ourselves. What we’ve covered here is just a preliminary summary and we would urge everyone to continue to learn more, especially if you’re in a position to reduce these risks.

We employ measures with all our chain-operated made-to-measure blinds to ensure they comply with child safety legislation based on the install heights you provide so you don't have to. For more information, download this child safety document.

The BBSA’s makeitsafe.org.uk website is a great resource for more documents and videos on regulations and best practice.

Fire Safety

The first and most obvious weapon in making window shading fire-safe is the use of fire retardant fabrics. Thankfully there is a wide range of fabrics out there that are tested extensively by their manufacturers and must be officially before they can be labelled as fire retardant or FR.

This certification used to come from the EU and you would expect to see a fabric to conform to DIN4102-B1. You're likely to see this certification applied to fabrics for some years to come but newer FR should begin to show the new UK-specific BS 5867 part 2 Type B. If you're unsure of whether a fabric still conforms to safety requirements, get in touch with your supplier and they should be able to provide you with new certification or at least a document called a Declaration of Conformity which means they officially declare a product conforms to any certification specified and puts the liability on them.

What exactly is Fire Retardancy? A product such as a window blind fabric that is fire retardant must not be considered fireproof but should be expected to slow down or stop the spread of fire or reduce its intensity. This is commonly accomplished by chemical reactions that reduce the flammability of fuels or delay their combustion. Fire retardants may also cool the fuel through physical action or endothermic chemical reactions.

Other options for improved fire safety would be to opt for a shading option that removes the risk of fabric burning. Metallic venetian or vertical blinds for instance.

There is little legislation that defines how fire-safe a window shading should be so the impetus is likely to come from your client. Knowing how to tackle your client's safety concerns, will let them know they can rely expertise.


Of course the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has put hygiene at the forefront of many people's minds. Even as the immediate danger subsides, this awareness will remain for a long to come. Aside from this, there has always been a need in the commercial market for clean, hygienic and optimally germ free environments - primarily in the medical and care sectors.

Thankfully, even window shading can be put to use to help tackle this problem.

One solution is the utilisation of fabrics that are weaved with inherently antimicrobial materials or coated with antimicrobial properties. This prevents commonly found bacteria and fungi from taking hold on the fabric and spreading. Many of the fabrics are produced from plastics such as PES which makes them incredibly hard and able to withstand rigorous cleaning and scrubbing, with some even able to hold their colour when subject to bleach solutions. Learn more in our Healthy Indoor Spaces article.

Motorisation comes up again when considering hygienic blinds. While there are copper operating chains available that have some anti-microbial properties, a blind that requires not touching at all is clearly the best option.


With these three key topics in mind, you'll have everything you need to offer your clients the safest blinds possible. For any further help with child safety, FR or antimicrobial fabrics, get in touch and we can guide you through the best options for your client's needs.