September 30, 2003
CPSC Announces October as Window
Covering Safety Month
Consumers Urged to Repair or Replace Old Window Coverings
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Window Covering
Safety Council and independent retailers have joined forces to raise
awareness of strangulation risks presented by window covering cords and
chains. October has been designated "Window Covering Safety Month" by CPSC
and the industry coalition. U.S. consumers are encouraged to repair or
replace window coverings purchased before 2001 and to keep all window cords
and chains out of the reach of young children. Through point-of-sale signage
in retail stores, advertising circulars in newspapers and other marketing
means, consumers will be alerted to the availability of free repair kits and
strongly urged to repair or replace older window coverings.
"Window Covering Safety Month is an important national initiative. Repairing
or replacing your window coverings is the first line of defense," said CPSC
Chairman Hal Stratton. "Consumers should also secure cords and chains so
they are out of children's reach. Cribs and furniture should be kept away
from window coverings so that children can not play with them."
Since 1991, CPSC has received reports of 174 strangulation deaths involving
cords and chains on window coverings. 152 deaths involved the outer-pull
cords, which raise and lower the blind. 22 deaths involved the inner-cords,
which run through the window blind slats.
Outer-pull cord deaths typically involve children ranging in age from
8-months to 6-years. Inner-cord deaths typically involve children ranging in
age from 9-months to 17-months who are placed in cribs or playpens located
within reach of window coverings. In all cases, the children became
inadvertently entangled and died from strangulation.
In recent years, window-covering manufacturers have produced redesigned
products to reduce cord hazards. These redesigns have reduced the
opportunity to create hazardous loops in the cords or chains. The redesigns
have also featured permanently attached tie-down anchors and built-in cord
It is important to note: although redesigned newer window coverings and
repaired older window coverings reduce the risk of strangulation - they have
not fully eliminated the hazard. Long dangling window cords and chains still
pose a strangulation hazard for young children. Consumers should never tie
window blind cords or chains together because the knot creates a new loop,
which could cause a young child to become entangled.
During the month of October, CPSC urges consumers to carefully inspect the
cords and chains of all of their window coverings. Consumers are also
encouraged to consider cordless coverings and other alternative window
coverings, which have been recently introduced throughout the country by
manufacturers. Consumers with older window coverings are urged to repair or
replace their window coverings.
Consumers possessing window coverings purchased before 2001 can obtain a
free repair kit from the Window Covering Safety Council's web site at
www.windowcoverings.org or by calling 1-800-504-4636. Individuals can also
visit www.cpsc.gov to learn more about window covering safety. A list of
firms and organizations participating in Window Covering Safety Month is
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission -- an independent federal agency
created by Congress in 1973 and charged with protecting the public from
unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of
consumer products -- will continue to monitor and investigate incidents
involving window coverings. CPSC will continue working with the window
covering industry to further reduce strangulation hazards through new
designs and advances in technology.
The following are window-covering safety tips offered by the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission:
Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords,
preferably to another wall.
Keep all window cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled
pull cords are short, and that continuous-loop cords are permanently
anchored to the floor or wall.
Lock cords into position when lowering horizontal coverings or shades to
prevent inner-cord hazards.
Repair window coverings, corded shades and draperies manufactured before
2001 with retrofit cord-repair devices, or replace them with today's safer
Consider installing cordless window coverings in children's bedrooms and
Retailers, Manufacturers and Importers Participating in Window Covering
Window Covering Safety Council Members
3 Day Blinds, Inc.
Royal Window Coverings USA
All Strong Industrial USA Corp.
Julius Koch USA Inc.
Springs Window Fashions
Big Lots Stores, Inc.
Superior Window Shades
Blinds To Go
C-MOR Shade Products Corp.
Value City Department Stores
Chateau Enterprises Inc.
Lewis Hyman Inc.
Comfortex Window Fashions
Lotus & Windoware, Inc.
Vista Products, Inc.
Custom Craft Company
Main Fine USA
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc
Next Day Blinds
Gilmore Enterprises Inc.
Pier One Imports
Hunter Douglas Inc.
Richview by Tehdex
In addition to the efforts of the above, state health departments,
children's hospitals, and housing authorities around the country, the
following organizations have also joined WCSC in promoting window- covering
Window Coverings Association of America
International Mass Retailers Association
American Medical Association
National Safe Kids Campaign chapters
American Society of Safety Engineers
National Apartment Association.