This month marks the sixth annual national Window Covering Safety Month, sponsored by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC).
The whole month of October is dedicated to this national campaign. Its goal is to increase the consumer’s awareness of window cord safety and urge parents with young children to replace all corded blinds, shades and draperies with today’s growing variety of safer cordless products.
Window coverings dealers, suppliers and installers are asked to be an important part of this campaign. WCSC provides artwork, ad templates and cord safety information for reproduction and use by industry members and retailers in promoting National Window Covering Safety Month. Materials can be downloaded free of charge at www.windowcoverings.org/industry. Access requires a user name and password: the user name is “October”; the password is “safety.”
Throughout the month CPSC, WCSC and retailers will alert parents to the potential dangers of window cords and give them information on how to safe-proof their windows to protect their children. Through this program the Council provides consumers with free retrofit tassels, tie-downs and cord stops for window coverings made before 2001. Free retrofit devices can be ordered through WCSC’s Web site at www.windowcoverings.org, or its toll-free phone line: 800-506-4636.
According to the CPSC, since 1990 approximately 200 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords. These tragedies occur because parents are not aware of the hazards of window cords.
“WCSC is urging parents and caregivers to replace older window coverings in their home with today’s safer alternatives, such as cordless designs,” said Peter Rush, executive director of the Window Covering Safety Council. “Each year, with the help of the CPSC, we continue to raise awareness of this important issue.”
WCSC is a coalition of major U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings that promote window cord safety. Since its inception in 1994, the WCSC has remained steadfast in its mission to educate Americans about potential window cord hazards facing young children, provide consumers with free retrofit kits and information, and promote the industry’s continuing commitment to product quality and safety. WCSC began its national window cord safety information and education program in 1995.
Beyond the Home
According to Safe Kids USA statistics, an estimated 14 million children are unintentionally injured each year—with as much as 25 percent of those incidents occurring in and around schools. Early childhood education professionals can help prevent some of these incidents simply by childproofing all classrooms to eliminate potential hazards.
One such safety measure features cordless window products. WCSC reminds teachers and childcare professionals to use only cordless window products in classrooms to help ensure a safer learning environment.
“Teachers who replace their window coverings with the cordless products available can feel more confident about their students’ safety,” said Rush.
To maximize window cord safety when young children are present, teachers and childcare professionals are urged to follow these safety guidelines:
• Install only cordless window coverings in schoolrooms and nap areas. Replace window blinds, corded shades and draperies manufactured before 2001 with today’s safer products.
• Move all furniture, desks and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.
• Keep all window pull cords and inner lift cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled pull cords are short and continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the floor or wall. Make sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement of inner lift cords.
• Lock cords into position whenever horizontal blinds or shades are lowered, including when they come to rest on a windowsill.
Hunter Douglas Safety Quiz
How childproof is your home? That’s the question Hunter Douglas would like every consumer, especially parents, to consider.
An important part of raising children is careful supervision of their activities in the home. Parents need to be aware of their children’s surroundings at all times in order to anticipate and prevent potential injury.
“At Hunter Douglas, we urge parents to go through the home from top to bottom while on their knees to better understand potential hazards from a child’s vantage point. Where we see the unremarkable, functional aspects of daily domestic life, a child may see an intriguing tangle of wires, a space in which to hide, a plant or pills that look good to eat or a bottle of cleaning fluid that resembles the juice that Mommy takes out of the refrigerator,” said Joe Jankoski, corporate vice president of merchandising for Hunter Douglas, as well as a member of the board and past trustee of the Window Covering Safety Council.
True or False?
To test child safety knowledge and to raise awareness of child safety issues, Hunter Douglas developed a safety quiz for parents. Here is a sampling of the questions:
1. Window screens provide adequate protection against falls.
2. Avoid long draperies when decorating a child’s bedroom.
3. Place furniture close to the window so children can benefit from fresh air and sunlight.
4. Sometimes the less obvious items can present the biggest potential hazards.
5. Crib toys strung across the crib or playpen should be removed when the child is about a year old.
6. Large glass doors and windows can shatter from the weight of a child’s body.
7. Many household plants can be toxic to children.
8. Household cleaners and all medicines should be kept in locked cabinets.
To help prevent injuries from window covering operating cords, Hunter Douglas has engineered a variety of alternate lifting systems. In fact, the company is offering a free upgrade to its LiteRise® cordless lifting system with the purchase of all Duette® and Applause® honeycomb shades during the Hunter Douglas Child Safety Promotion in effect September 25 to November 17, 2008.
1. FALSE. Screens are designed to keep bugs out, not children in. Install locks on all windows, even those on the ground floor. If you need to open a window for ventilation, install a side lock that will keep it at a level too low for a child to pass through.
2. TRUE. When kids start to crawl, there’s a real danger that they will pull on the fabric, bringing down the hardware and heavy, potentially suffocating draperies.
3. FALSE. Toddlers are very agile and can climb from a crib or other furniture to the windowsill. And, in case the window is broken, there’s a danger of injury from flying glass.
4. TRUE. Splintered wood, untacked carpets, poorly secured shelf units and dangling appliance cords are just a few of the not-so-obvious hazards to child safety.
5. FALSE. Once a baby is able to push up on his hands or knees—usually around five months—the cord used to fasten the toys can pose a danger.
6 TRUE. Use shatterproof glass in the construction of sliding glass and French doors and put stickers at child’s eye level on these and any other wide expanses of glass.
7. TRUE. Houseplants not only make our homes aesthetically pleasant, they help to oxidize and cleanse the air. However, some common household plants such as amaryllis, begonia, philodendron and poinsettias have some level of toxicity when ingested or when they come in contact with skin.
8. TRUE. Many ordinary household products and over-the-counter or prescription medicine can be lethal. Kids can mistake pills for candy and detergent for juice. Spilled liquids can splatter and get into a child’s eyes. Secure these items carefully and keep the Poison Hotline number posted near the phone: 800-222-1222.