Children and window treatment cords don’t mix. When window covering cords are accessible to small children, these seemingly harmless products may become strangulation hazards. This is especially important with older window coverings that may not meet the latest national standard for window cord safety.
The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) urges all parents and
caregivers to check all areas of their residences for potential
window cord hazards and to replace or retrofit blinds, shades and
draperies purchased before 2001 with today’s safer products.
WCSC also urges manufacturers, fabricators, suppliers and dealers
to extol the virtues of safety by promoting the built-in safety
features of the window treatments they sell.
For the third year in a row, WCSC and the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission have joined forces to declare October as National
Window Covering Safety Month (see D&WC, July 2005, page 14).
The month-long, nationwide campaign is designed to increase consumer
awareness of cord-safety concerns and to urge parents with young
children to repair or replace corded products.
Throughout the month, WCSC will carry out umbrella public relations
and safety-month marketing activities on behalf of the industry.
This includes news releases and feature stories for the print and
broadcast media, a special safety-month page on the WCSC Web site
(www.windowcoverings.org), and cooperative promotional efforts with
safety, health and housing groups.
WCSC provides artwork, ad templates and cord-safety information
for reproduction and use by industry members and retailers in promoting
safety this month and always. Materials can be downloaded at no
charge from the Internet at www.windowcoverings.org/industry. Access
requires a user name and password. The user name is Industry. The
password is October.
When it comes to choosing window treatments most consumers consider
color, style and even privacy. If young children are around the
home, then cord control should be another important factor in selecting
Mini-blinds and pleated shades made before 1995 often have a looped
pull cord that can serve as an unintended noose when within reach
of a child. WCSC members eliminated looped pull cords on horizontal
blinds and shades in 1995, and in 1997 permanently attached tie-downs
for vertical blinds and draperies became an industry standard. In
2001, built-in cord stops were incorporated into the design of mini-blinds
and corded shades to help prevent small hands from pulling on inner
cords as well.
Because cord safety features are now built into window coverings,
WCSC believes parents will feel more confident about their child’s
safety if they replace their older window coverings with the products
Another alternative is to retrofit pre-2001 corded blinds and window
coverings with retrofit devices.
Although today’s window fashions come with built-in cord-safety
features, the WCSC believes cordless window coverings are the best
choice for use in children’s bedrooms and any area of the
home where children spend time playing.
In fact, cordless designs are rapidly gaining favor with consumers
and decorators because of their clean look and streamlined design.
Most traditionally corded window fashions are available in cordless
styles through the use of spring-loaded mechanisms, battery- or
motor-operated lift controls or simple wand pulls. When combined
with the scores of new fashion looks in today’s window coverings,
consumers can pick from a wide choice of high-style cordless designs.
EDUCATE, PROVIDE, PROMOTE
Since its inception in 1994, the WCSC, a coalition of major U.S.
manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings, has
made it its mission to:
• Educate Americans about potential window cord hazards facing
• Provide consumers with free cord repair devices and information.
• Promote the industry’s continuing commitment to product
quality and safety.
Since 1995, the WCSC has operated a national window cord safety
information and education program. The council also provides consumers
with free retrofit tassels, tie-downs and cord stops for older window
coverings. Consumers can order free retrofit devices through the
WCSC’s Web site at www.windowcoverings.org,
or its toll-free phone line at (800) 506-4636. To date, these efforts
have resulted in the repair of millions of residential window coverings.