If you’re used to buying corded window coverings, you’ll need to rethink your style — due to a new safety standard that went into effect Dec. 15, 2018, a vast majority of window covering products sold in the United States will be cordless or have inaccessible or short cords. This new requirement applies to stock products, sold in stores and online, which accounts for more than 80 percent of all window-covering products sold nationally.
The new standard — the result of a two-year effort among several entities — also adds new requirements for corded custom window products.
Corded window coverings can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and children and are one of the “top five hidden hazards in American homes,” according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“CPSC incident data shows that requiring these products to be cordless or have inaccessible cords would have the most significant and immediate impact on reducing the strangulation risk to young children from certain window covering cords,” said Window Covering Manufacturers Association Executive Director Ralph Vasami.
Corded window coverings will only be available on custom-order products, as corded products are still needed by a wide range of consumers, including the elderly and those with disabilities, those short in stature and those with windows in hard-to-reach locations. The revised standard imposes new restrictions on these custom-order products, such as requiring operating cords to have a default length of 40 percent of the blind height (currently it is unlimited) and a default to a tilt wand instead of a tilt cord.
WCMA member Hunter Douglas stated, “Hunter Douglas is proud to have worked with the Window Covering Manufacturers Association and all of the stakeholders who participated in the standard-making process for this important initiative. Hunter Douglas fully supports the new safety standard and is committed to continuing to lead the way in the development of innovative new products with safety, convenience, and beauty in mind.”
All products manufactured after Dec. 15, 2018 should comply with the new standard, although many manufacturers have already introduced new products based on the new standard since the standard was approved in January 2018.
The new safety standard is a direct result of ongoing industry innovation, technological advances and new product development, WCMA said.
“Because many custom-order window coverings are available with cordless operating systems or have inaccessible cords, we estimate that as much as 90 percent of products sold in the U.S. will be cordless or have inaccessible cords once compliance with the new safety standard is in place,” Vasami said. “The new U.S. ANSI window covering safety standard is by far the strongest safety standard in the world.”
A detailed FAQ provides more detail into this milestone.
Consumers can continue look for the “Best for Kids” certification label to identify cordless window covering options. WCMA created the “Best for Kids” certification program in 2015 to make it easier to shop for window coverings to identify cordless products.
For consumers who may still have corded blinds, the Window Covering Safety Council and the CPSC urges replacing the corded blinds in homes where children live or visit, and offers safety tips such as keeping cribs, beds and furniture away from window blinds.