Cordless Window Blinds To Become New Standard, To Prevent Child Strangulation

The makers of blinds, shades and other window coverings have agreed on voluntary standards that aim to eliminate cords from three quarters of all products, in an effort to reduce the risk of child strangulations and deaths reported in recent years. 

The standards were proposed and voluntarily approved earlier this month by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, a trade group including large blind manufacturers that make both stock and custom blinds.

Window blind cord safety has been a concern for years, as increasing numbers of children are injured and killed after becoming entangled in the cords, and the Consumer Product Safety Commissions (CPSC) has issued recalls for recalled millions of window coverings due to dangerous risks.

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In 2015, Consumer Reports issued a safety advisory after nearly 200 children were strangled to death and 100 others were injured.

The CPSC 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.

Federal regulators called for mandatory safety standards for window coverings in 2015, following numerous child deaths. However, the industry has moved to put in voluntary standards in hopes of satisfying the CPSC’s concerns without the need for the likely more stringent federal regulations.

According to the new voluntary standard, stock window blinds would be manufactured without cords. Only custom-made products would be allowed to have cords.

Experts indicate that the voluntary standard could be implemented very quickly. Consumers needing a product with cords would still have a large selection among custom made products. Many top retailers, like Home Depot, were critical of the proposal prior to the vote.

Safety advocacy groups say this standard is less strict than another proposal that was also being considered, which focused on a size-based standard.

Many critics said that proposal would have been more effective, since the proposal that was passed allows custom blinds to have cords. Safety groups also say it will be difficult to implement the new standard and to monitor adherence and safety.

The CPSC said a mandatory rule is still a possibility in the future.

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