Curtains or blinds? Venetians or rollers? When it comes to window treatments, there is no shortage of beautiful options. But when you throw a toddler into the mix, things get a little trickier. You’ll need something chic but safe, pretty but practical. Before you know it, something as simple as a pair of drapes can turn into a big headache.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you (and your windows) covered! Make a safe and satisfying choice with this helpful list of nursery window dos and don’ts.
Do avoid floor-length draperies.
Should your toddler be able to get his hands on them, you may find your curtains serving some pretty interesting purposes. Unless you want your little one to pull, climb and wipe his nose on your curtain panels, it’s probably best to keep them short, simple and out of reach.
Don't let your curtains upstage your windows.
Curtains typically reduce the width of your windows, covering a considerable amount of glass even when pulled back.
If you are planning to use curtains, buy wide-paneled drapes and install the rod's hardware further from the window's edge. This will allow room for the curtains to be pulled back completely without blocking the view.
For safety's sake, please ensure that your curtain rod is long enough to accommodate the added width. Curtain rods that are stretched too far become unstable and may collapse on your child!
Do consider a valance.
Opting for window blinds? A fabric valance softens the appearance of blinds, adding color and texture to your design while staying well clear of little fingers.
For a more dramatic effect, construct a cornice box. Padded and covered with fabric, these simple wooden frames box in the top of the window, providing more structure than a traditional valance. Make your own, with these handy tips.
Do dress up inexpensive roller shades with fabric.
Unlike blinds, which can be fairly pricey, roller shades are relatively inexpensive and can disappear completely during the day, ensuring plenty of sunlight. Purchase an ultra-thick, light-blocking model, and attach decorative fabric to the front for a soft, colorful finish. Sound too intimidating? It’s easier than you’d think! Find step-by-step directions in this helpful tutorial.
Do introduce a pattern.
Add a whimsical touch to your nursery design by choosing a fun, patterned fabric for your window dressings.
In order to create continuity, be sure to feature your chosen pattern multiple times throughout the room. Aim for at least three or four uses per pattern. For example, you could coordinate your nursery bedding with your curtains, using the same fabric to create an accent pillow for your rocker.
Need help coordinating your pattern choices? These tips will have you mixing and matching like a pro in no time!
Do use your curtains to enhance your theme.
Working with a nautical theme? Consider attaching some old nautical maps to your pull-down roller blinds. Looking for window dressings worthy of a princess? Crown your treatments with fancy tiara-inspired cornice boxes.
Don’t save your curtains for last.
When decorating, always choose fabric elements first. Given the astounding array of available paint colors and the prevalence of color-match technology, it's definitely easier to choose your textiles first and then buy paint to match.
Do ensure your window treatments are properly installed.
Curtain rods and blind casings can be dangerous if they fall. To prevent injury, all curtain hardware should be fixed directly to a wall stud or secured with the appropriate drywall anchors.
Don’t use tension rods.
Since they are not screwed to the wall, spring-loaded tension rods may collapse, delivering a nasty bop on the head to any toddler who gives the curtain panel a good pull.
Don’t purchase curtains that feature beaded decorations, decorative cording, and other such embellishments.
These items may become loose and could be pulled off by a curious toddler, posing a choking hazard. Looking for something with a little toddler-proof pizazz? Opt for fun prints, rich textures, and embroidery instead.
Do childproof your blinds.
Blinds with long, exposed cords can pose a strangulation hazard for small children.
Before leaving your toddler unsupervised in their room, ensure that all cords are safely out of reach. If you choose to install blinds, be sure to pick up and install a safety device designed to control cord access. You might also consider purchasing blinds that feature new breakaway cords, which break when stressed.
Want more childproofing tips? Check out this comprehensive safety checklist.
Do keep your cool.
Did you know that overheating is a known risk factor associated with SIDS? Studies have shown that keeping your little one’s room cool and well-circulated can reduce their risk of SIDS by as much as 72 percent!
Even if your nursery seems cool during the day, it's a good idea to install heat-reflecting, UV-blocking window treatments. Installing double-lined, UV-blocking drapes or a set of heavy blinds can help your little one beat the heat during afternoon naps. You can also purchase UV-blocking window film, which reflects the sun’s heat and can be applied directly to the window glass.
Do put safety first.
In the rush to make everything look flawless in time for the big day, common sense sometimes abandons us. When it comes to nursery accidents, prevention is the first line of defense. Remember to install safety devices, such as window guards or stops, on all windows, and be careful where you place your furniture. You wouldn’t want to place your little one in direct sunlight or close enough to the window that they could fall!
For more important safety tips, visit our Safety Basics page where you’ll find important information on everything from product safety to SIDS prevention.