New Blinds Safety Guidelines

I’ve talked about this before, but there is new information for you to know if you have any corded window coverings in your home.

 You may, (or may not), know that corded window treatments are, basically, no longer available in North America. The U.S. has strict guidelines, and while Canada typically follows the U.S. on product safety, in this instance we have not (yet). But it’s coming, so you might as well get used to it — most window covering manufacturers here in Canada, myself included, follow the U.S. guidelines.

These guidelines were updated recently and will be in effect on December 15. 

A few years ago the first regulations said no to cords which could be pulled into forming a loop greater than 16 inches circumference. For example, if you could reach behind your Roman blind when it was in the down position, and pull a cord and make a loop — with the cord and blind — of 16 inches or more, that blind was not ‘compliant’. And could not be sold. That still stands.

 ( You’ve seen this picture before.)
testing a roman shade cord for compliance


Cord cleats could no longer be used.. These are the wind-around things we attach to the frame or wall onto which you wind all the cord when the shade is in the up position. We can use them again, provided there is a cord condenser installed as near to the headrail cord exit point as possible. This is a wonderful example of a misplaced guideline. When the blind is in the down position, the hanging cords are put into the condenser. When the blind is pulled up, all the operational cords are pulled to the side, and these cords are not in the condenser.

So, if your blind is 50 inches long, and you leave 3 feet of cord for the pull when the blind is in the up position, there will be 86 inches of cord to deal with. And only 36 inches of that cord will be past the condenser.

We can now use cords provided they are no longer than 40% of the total height of the blind when the blind is in the up position and if they are bead chain, they must be attached to the wall or frame.


These 2 considerations have proven to be problematic for elderly people and people with disabilities, so the regulations have been relaxed with exceptions for these folks. Which is why we can use cleats again.. 

And to that end, there is more lenience being given to drapery workrooms, like me, who make blinds. Our blinds must be labeled ‘custom’ and manufactured blinds must be labeled ‘stock’.


If you have any corded window treatments in your home, I urge you to have them retro-fitted to compliance with the guidelines.

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