Blinds and curtains with loose cords or chains can strangle young children. Since the early 1990s, at least 18 children have tragically died in Australia this way.
A child can place a loop over their head or get tangled in loose cords or chains when:
~ sleeping in a cot or bed where cords or chains are hanging;
~ playing near cords or chains; or
~ standing on furniture (chair, sofa, bed, table etc.) or climbing using something like
an overturned toy box/crate to look out of a window that has blind or curtain cords
Landlords have an obligation to ensure internal window coverings are safe.
Under section 42(2)(c) of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, the landlord (lessor) is required to ensure that all aspects of the premises comply with laws relating to buildings, health and safety. Product safety laws for internal window coverings have applied in Western Australia since 23 January 2004, so landlords need to ensure that blind/curtain cords and chains supplied after this date meet the national product safety requirements.
If blinds/curtains were bought before January 2004, it is strongly recommended that landlords ensure blind/curtain cords or chains on their rental premises are safe for children. Under common law, a landlord has a duty of care to tenants, as well as anyone the tenant invites into the property, and must ensure the premises are safe to live in. If a child dies or is injured on the rental premises as a result of a blind/curtain cord or chain injury, the landlord may be sued for negligence. Even if the tenants do not have children, a court could consider that it was reasonably foreseeable that the tenants may have children visiting the home from time to time.
If a cord or chain for a blind or curtain hangs lower than 1.6m from the floor then it must be secured by a safety device. You can buy safety devices from hardware stores or curtain and blind shops to secure loose cords and chains.