CPSC Rules Calling For Cordless Window Blinds And Shades Goes Into Effect

As part of a continuing effort to reduce the risk of child strangulations, which cause a number of injuries and deaths each year, new voluntary safety standards went into effect this week that call for all blinds and window coverings to be cordless.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminded manufacturers about the updated voluntary cordless blinds standard, which went into effect on December 15. The CPSC is urging manufacturers to follow the new and evolving standards that are aimed directly at keeping children safe.

According to the standards, stock windows sold in stores or online should be cordless or free of any accessible cords. CPSC Acting Chairman, Ann Marie Buerkle stated in the release that as homes with older blinds and shades are replaced with cordless products, there should be a significant decline in strangulations of young children.

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Earlier this year, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved a separate window covering standard which requires any stock or substantially fabricated window covering to be cordless or have inaccessible cords that cannot measure over eight inches in length. The standards also apply to custom-order blinds and window coverings that will require a tilt wand if the cords are over 8 inches long.

CPSC officials have collaborated efforts with ANSI and the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) to work with retailers, manufacturers, test facilities and various advocates to make cordless blinds a reality.

Window blind cord safety has been a concern for years, as a number of children are injured and killed after becoming entangled in the cords. To address the risk with certain products, the CPSC has issued recalls for recalled millions of window coverings in recent years.

Despite federal regulators calling for mandatory safety standards for window coverings since 2015, following numerous child deaths, the industry has been moving in the direction to implement voluntary standards in hopes of satisfying the CPSC’s concerns without the need for the likely more stringent federal regulations.

CPSC data has indicated that at least 184 children were strangled to death between 1996 and 2012. More than 100 children sustained severe injuries, many resulted in permanent brain damage, neurological issues, scarring and permanent loss of mobility.

While many homes still contain corded blinds, the CPSC has provided a Window Covering Safety Education Center for consumers with suggestions to always move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from corded windows, and to make tasseled pull cords as short as possible. Any window blind or shade with cords that can be accessible to children should always be permanently anchored high up and out of reach.

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