Regulator Takes Action on Safety of Window Coverings

Advocate Andy

Consumer Product Safety Commission finalizes rules designed to protect young children

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) this week finalized two rules related to window coverings this week. The rules are designed to protect young children (under 8 years old) from the risk of strangulation posed by cords connected to the coverings.

Consumer groups - including Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Kids in Danger (KID) were quick to applaud what they called a long overdue set of rules.

“It took 20 years to the day for this mandatory rule to finally happen. My daughter, Cheyenne, died from a cord that runs between the slats of a window blind in 2002. By the time we wrote the petition in 2013, over 100 children had been injured and killed. The saddest thing for me is talking to a parent who lost a child on a product that was professionally installed or labeled child safe,” stated Linda Kaiser, Founder of Parents for Window Blind Safety. “Strangulation incidents can happen quickly even when parents can be in the same room. Due to the vagus nerve being compressed during these incidents, the impact of injury is severe and the chance of survival after entanglement is less than one minute.”  

The new mandatory rule addressing custom window coverings requires strong safety standards for the safe operation of custom products. This rule goes into effect 180 days after publication in the Federal Register. The other new rule finalized today “deems the presence of hazardous operating cords and inner cords on stock window coverings and hazardous inner cords on custom window coverings to be a substantial product hazard.” This means that if a stock window covering has an unsafe operating and inner cord and a custom window covering has an unsafe inner cord, that the CPSC can take action to protect consumers. This second rule goes into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register for window coverings manufactured after that date.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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