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Voluntary Window Covering Safety Standard Fails to Protect Children · Consumer Federation of America | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


WASHINGTON, DC – Unsafe custom window coverings continue to present an ongoing, serious risk to children and are one of the top hazards in homes today.  Yesterday the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) held a briefing on its operating plan for 2024.  Included in the operating plan is a proposal to continue and finalize work on the safety of window coverings.

About nine children 8 years old and younger die every year from window coverings with long, hazardous cords.  From January 2009 through December 2021, the CPSC reported that there were more than 200 incidents involving children, many on custom products with failed safety devices.  For over two decades, parent and consumer organizations persistently worked to eradicate strangulation hazards posed by window coverings because the solution is clear.  Responsible designs would eliminate the strangulation hazard.

In 2018, the window covering industry attempted, for the seventh time, to adopt a voluntary standard for cords on stock window coverings.  The standard did not address all hazardous cords and failed safety devices on custom window coverings.  Despite the serious and ongoing risk to children, manufacturers made an eighth attempt at a voluntary safety standard but refused to make evidence-based changes to custom window coverings that were recommended by safety experts and the CPSC.  Then CPSC stepped in.  In November 2022, the CPSC unanimously finalized a lifesaving window covering rule that eliminated the dangers associated with cords on custom window covering products.

“The heart of the matter for consumers to realize is for decades safety devices and child safety tips failed families who took precautions to keep their children safe,” said Linda Kaiser, founder of Parents for Window Blind Safety.   “The deadly designs of custom products are identical to the corded stock products industry eliminated in 2018.  The percentage of the custom online market is growing larger every year making it more affordable. Every blind that is produced today will remain in American homes for many years to come, perpetuating the hazard.”

Almost immediately after the CPSC finalized its lifesaving custom window covering rule, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) filed a lawsuit challenging the CPSC’s vital rule and arguing that it did not substantively advance child safety. In September 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the CPSC’s lifesaving rule and remanded the issue back to the CPSC.

“The voluntary standard process for window coverings has failed children and their families for over two decades,” said Courtney Griffin, Director of Consumer Product Safety at CFA.    “WCMA’s obstructive tactics reflect a broader goal of regulated industries to undermine the authority of federal agencies whose mission it is to protect consumers.  We will continue to fight for safer products in our homes.”

Consumers, especially caregivers of young children, deserve a just marketplace.  The lives of children are more important than a company’s bottom line.  Parent advocates and consumer groups will continue to push for safer, fairer regulations that protect the most vulnerable in our homes.  Parent and consumer advocates call on the CPSC to navigate a path forward in the coming year that will ensure no other family suffers unimaginable tragedy because of failed safety devices on window covering cords.

 

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Parents for Window Blind Safety is a non-profit 501c3 that educates the public about the strangulation risk factors on window covering products, advocates for safer standards in the industry, and created the first window covering certification program in 2005, which certifies, tests, and promotes window coverings for safety.

Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nearly 250 non-profit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.

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