The dangers of windows cords exists not only for pets but more importantly, for children. There are reports of accidents from the 1940’s when window blinds gained popularity as home decor. Several years ago the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) named the cords one of the top five hazards in the home and listed several safety precautions parents should take. They also suggested voluntary recalls of window coverings with visible cords. Not many manufacturers complied with that suggestion, but did launch a campaign of educating consumers about the potential problems.
It has been shown, however, that safety tips offered in the past may have been somewhat helpful, but they have not prevented disasters involved with cords. It takes only a few minutes for a curious child to ensnare himself enough to cause injury/and or death. No matter how dedicated or careful a parent is, no one can watch a child every second.
Recent emergency room records covering 25 years, from 1990 to 2015, reveal 17,000 children less than six years old suffered injuries from playing with cords on window blinds. The same report indicated more than one child a month died from those injuries. Many of these accidents occurred when the child had been put to bed and assumed to be sleeping.
Then, in November 2015, a video of a toddler hanging limply from blind cords went viral on the news. The camera captured the scene as the mother filmed two of her other children playing and saw her son in the background. Viewers can also hear her screams on the recording. Fortunately, quick action from the father saved the boy. The family decided to release the emotion-packed video to warn other parents as well as raise concerns and issue a call for action.
The call was answered. This past January, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a new standard requiring manufacturing companies to produce cordless blinds. The Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) approved.
The new standard originally called for companies’ compliance by January 2019, but the CPSC requested the date be changed to December 15 of this year–prior to the Christmas holidays. All pre-packaged window coverings, such as those found in department stores, come under the new regulation. Those with cords will be available only by custom order. Such orders would include coverings made for the elderly and those with disabilities or for hard-to-reach windows. Restrictions on length also apply there, however. Furthermore, the new standard requires a new hazard label showing a more graphic picture of the potential danger.
Both CPSC and WCMA recommend families who have small children and/or pet replace all window coverings that currently feature cords, especially in bedrooms.
Although our company sells only custom-made window coverings, we applaud this new standard to promote safety for children and pets in a home. When you are ready to replace your blinds, contact us for help. We do free consultations and are happy to advise you on our large selection of cordless window coverings in many fabrics and styles. In addition, we can provide remote-controlled operation of our products.
By the end of the year, experts estimate that more than 90% of all window blinds sold in the U.S. and Canada will be cordless or have inaccessible cords. Ralph Vasami, the Director of WCMA, expects the new standard to cause an immediate, substantial reduction of injuries. All the parents of all the dead and injured children say “It’s about time!”