Cutting fabric in the Makkas Drapery workroom

Window Blind Design in the Age of Automation and Child Safety

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2012 and 2017 there were 50 reported fatalities linked to window cord strangulation among infants and young children. An alarming statistic that labeled window cords as one of the “top five hidden hazards in American homes.” A study done in 2017 by Pediatrics found that from 1990-2015 children under the age of 6 accounted for close to 17,000 window blind-related injuries treated in emergency rooms.

So as you could imagine, there was astounding relief among homeowners with small children, when Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) in coordination with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a new safety standard, effective December 15, 2018 , that would require a majority of window covering products sold in the United States (stock products sold in stores and online) to be either cordless or have short accessible cords. Because this standard does not apply to custom window products, it is up to the designer and ultimately the homeowner to make decisions when it comes to child safety. And in most cases, agreeing that this traditional design may not be worth the long term risk in homes with small children either present or on the way.

As the world of window treatments evolve to meet much needed safety standards, cordless and fixed length cord solutions are becoming the norm for design. But like everything, there is no one solution. Depending on the space, the complexity of the design and, of course, the budget, there are options to take into consideration. Here we’ll discuss 3 viable window treatment options from simple to most cutting edge.

#1: Continuous Chain Loop

The standard beaded continuous chain loop is one of the most common lifts used in shades today. It accounts for roughly 90% of our window shade projects. It’s ideal for larger shades that have frequent use. This option uses a fixed length cord that is adhered to the window sill or trim by a tension device, eliminating the use of unsafe dangling cords. The downside it that you may need to replace parts on the shade, including the “clutch” and the chain itself, but more importantly the chain loop window option does now lend itself to a clean, streamlined look and my take away from the overall design you’re looking to achieve. But with a lower price point, it may be worth it.

#2: Cordless (manual)

A key defining feature and benefit of cordless window treatments is (yes, you guessed it) that they don’t have any chains or cords. Operating through the use of spring-loaded mechanics and an adjustable tension system, Cordless lift blinds come in all shapes, styles (from wood to pleated) and sizes, providing a clean consistent look to any room design. Another benefit of the manual functionality it that it allows you to lift and lower the blind to the exact level desired. One obvious drawback is that the blind can only be raised as high as the person who is operating it and the other, let’s be honest - is the fact that it’s manual. Not to mention that the retractable element is based on old technology so only works so well. But all that aside it is still as safe, cost effective option for window treatments.

#3: Motorized

As we mentioned in our April blog , with the rise of smart home automation technology ( and our BFF Alexa ) motorized window blinds have, no doubtedly, increased in popularity. Controlled through its own device or the owner’s smartphone, Motorized blinds provide the convenience (accessing blinds in high places and providing top down-bottom up options) comfort of light and privacy control with a touch of a button, or a call out command once integrated with an AI device. The motor is built within the shade and contains a lithium battery that can be recharged with a USB connector.

The team working on motorized curtains back in the workroom

This luxury typically does not come cheap, with costs being anywhere from 3-4 times higher than non-motorized options ($300-$500 per shade). But over the years with the improvements in this technology, the costs have gone down significantly, opening doors to more economical options. For example, we are now working with a company out of China that offers these devices at only $120 per shade. The discounted price allows us the option to sometimes “eat” the cost for our clients so that they can have motorize components, knowing it will be better for them in the long run. As the window blind industry continues to evolve and make strides to adapt a safer, more efficient technology, we will surely see changes in both design and costs in order to meet demand. What’s your preference when it comes to cordless blinds?

Verifying the measurements before our curtains go out to the client

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