CPSC Votes for Mandatory Safety Standard for Home Window Blinds
Chris Welsh, Esq.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted for a mandatory standard for window blinds in response to the risk of accidental child strangulation. The vote was unanimous, and according to safetyresearch.net, a long time coming.
Window blind cords in homes have been a risk to children as early as 1945 (safetyresearch.net). CPSC records show that an average of 11
children die each year from accidental window cord strangulation, as well as an average of six that suffer injuries including permanent brain damage. Between 1996 and 2012, an estimated 1,590 children were treated for injuries related to cord entanglement, including 285 deaths and serious injuries (consumerfed.org).
Needless to say, window blind cords have been an issue for a long time due to regulatory foot-dragging. By 2013, parents and safety advocates were fed up. Pointing to consistent death rates and alternative designs, they argued for a mandatory rule to protect children from unnecessary strangulation. The CPSC has finally responded with a 5-0 count.
The vote is a critical step in finally protecting children from preventable death. Speaking for Parents for Window Blind Safety, mother Linda Kaiser expressed long-overdue hope on the issue: “CPSC has finally answered the cries of hundreds of parents who have lost children throughout the years. We can only hope that this petition continues to move forward in order to save the countless lives of those who are still at risk.” Kaiser and her husband lost their one-year old daughter, Cheyenne Rose, to a window cord accident 12 years ago.
Unsurprisingly, there are both political and industrial opponents to the regulatory demand. The blind industry is in favor of a “robust voluntary standard.” A few months ago, GOP appointee Ann Marie Buerkle voiced that she had “significant reservations about whether a mandatory standard coverings could be justified under the Consumer Product Safety Act.” Last year, four children strangled to death from window cords within 20 days–the fourth fatality occurring on March 1st. If four deaths in two months cannot be justified under the Consumer Product Safety Act, what can?
Even if your blinds are “childproof” they are not immune to accidents. As a rule of them, go cordless. To learn more about how to protect your children from window cord strangulation, visit Parents for Window Blind Safety. http://parentsforwindowblindsafety.org/. You can also visit their YouTube channel.