Federal safety experts call corded window coverings one of the top five hidden hazards in homes with children. Recently, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) has announced new safety changes. In making the announcement, Executive Director Ralph Vasami stated:
WCMA is initiating the process to revise the current voluntary window covering safety standard to effectively address the strangulation risk to children from products with accessible cords.
There has been a most serious problem involving these products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) emergency department-treated injury data demonstrates that from 1996 through 2012 an estimated 1,590 children were treated for injuries resulting from being caught in window covering cords. Elliot Kaye, Chairman of CPSC, stated:
It is certainly encouraging that a substantial revision to the standard this year could, at a minimum, mean the vast majority of window covering products sold in the U.S. by WCMA members would be cordless or have inaccessible cords —meaning they would be safe for children—as soon as possible in 2018.
In May, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote the WCMA asking for changes. Sen Klobuchar had this to say on the subject:
Consumers deserve to know that the products they use in their homes are safe for every member of their family. After tragic deaths of too many children, including seven in Minnesota, I am hopeful that the window covering industry will take this opportunity to develop standards that fully eliminate the strangulation threat to children.
Linda Kaiser’s daughter Cheyenne died in 2002 in a corded window blind accident. Ms. Kaiser had this to say about the announcement by the WCMA: “I think it’s one step on a long journey. It sounds like this is definitely a step in the right direction.” Ms. Kaiser, who also runs the group Parents for Window Blind Safety, said she will be following the developments carefully and hopes significant changes to eliminate possible dangers will end up happening.
Target and IKEA have made the move to only sell cordless window covering options. Representatives from Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart said they plan to switch to only cordless window coverings by 2018. All of this is good news for consumers and especially for the parents of small children.
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