Blinds and shades can hide safety hazards. They often enclose accessible cords, such as operating cords (pull cords and continuous loop cords), inner cords, and lifting loops, which can pose strangulation hazards to children.
194 cases of strangulation from window coverings have been reported to CPSC. Nearly all of these incidents were related to corded window covers.
Cord cleats are a simple but effective way to keep the dangerous, dangling operating cords of your blinds and shades out of reach from kids. They’re easy to install, and you can find them in a variety of colors and finishes to coordinate with your home’s design and decor.
Many window coverings include cords that operate (pull, tilt, or lift fabric or similar materials such as Roman or pleated shades. These cords can be exposed from either the front, back, or bottom of the product. However, they can also be made inaccessible by using a rigid cord shroud, which encapsulates the operating cable, as described in the voluntary standard ANSI/WCMA-2018.
In the United States, stock window coverings are in substantial compliance with ANSI/WCMA-2018, and the Commission believes that a significant portion of custom products also comply with the standard. However, there are still some custom products that do not meet the safety requirements in ANSI/WCMA-2018 or other international standards, which can lead to strangulation to young children.
To address this hazard, the Commission proposes to require that custom window coverings meet the same operating cord requirements as stock window coverings, as defined in section 4.3.1 of ANSI/WCMA-2018, to prevent an unreasonable risk of injury and strangulation to children 8 years old and younger. These requirements are necessary in order to address the dangers posed by custom window coverings’ accessible operating cords. They will also help reduce or eliminate the risk of strangulation and injuries.
CPSC staff reviewed 194 incidents involving corded window coverings that occurred in the United States between 2000 and 2015, of which 35 involved custom window coverings. These incidents involved either continuous loop cord/beaded chains or free-hanging and/or bead chains. Most of the 35 incidents that involved custom window coverings involved corded horizontalblinds.
Although CPSC staff are not aware of any reported cases involving an access operating cord on stock window covers for sale in the United States of America, the Commission believes there is a continuing reasonable danger of injury to children aged 8 and under due to the length of the accessible oper cords on custom window coverings permitted by ANSI/WCMA-2018 which exceeds the 8-inch limit in the voluntary standard.
Retractable Cord Devices
There are many ways to protect your workplace. Window coverings are one way to keep your workplace safe. These window coverings can help prevent slips, trips and falls that are a leading cause of injury claims in the construction industry.
Another way to ensure that your equipment has the correct cords is to check for them. These cords will make your job much easier and safer, as they will not get tangled up or catch on anything.
Another way to protect your work area is with retractable cord devices. They are much safer than standard non-retractable cables because they have a metal housing that protects the cords inside from damage.
They also make it easier to store and organize the cables that are used for different tasks. This makes it easier for everyone to find what they are looking for and helps them get the job done quicker.
These cords also come in a variety of different colors and are made with heavy-duty polypropylene cases that are resistant to oils and grease. They come with an LED status light that lets you know if they are working correctly, as well a breaker so you don’t have to worry about blown fuse.
You can also purchase retractable power cords that have different outlets on them, so you can plug in more than just a single device. This is a great option for people who have many different appliances or equipment in their home.
This will save you money over the long-term as it will reduce the power required to run your equipment and appliances. This can also make it easier to keep your home or office clean and tidy, which is always a good thing.
Lastly, retractable cord devices are easy to maintain and repair. They are also compact in design, making it easy to install and move around your facility.
Retractable cord devices can be used in almost any industrial or commercial setting where there are cables for power, data and signal. They can be very effective in ensuring safety and productivity in your facility, and they are also very useful for helping you avoid OSHA fines.
Tension devices are designed to keep continuous loops taut, and they are required on most shades that use cord loops for operation. The devices are available in two versions: the Universal Cord Tension Device and the ANSI Shade Safety Kit (Figure 19).
These devices are essential for window covering safety, especially for children. They prevent access to continuous loops that pose a strangulation risk, and they also help to reduce the length of exposed cords when a child pulls on them.
The CPSC reviewed incident data regarding custom window coverings with operating cables and rigid cord shrouds. It found that 91.1 percent of incidents involving cord types would have been avoided if these products had complied to the final rule on operating cords. Similarly, 91.1 percent of the incidents for which cord type was unknown could have been prevented by complying with the voluntary standard for inner cords, which will be codified as mandatory in the final rule under section 15(j) of the CPSA.
Unlike rigid cord shrouds, loop cord and bead chain restraining devices do not require the attachment of the tension device to a wall; therefore, they are more accessible. They are also more flexible because they can be operated from behind furniture.
While these devices can be a significant improvement, they do not address all the hazards associated with accessible continuous loops, and they still do not provide an adequate level of protection for children. Accordingly, CPSC is not comfortable relying on these devices to prevent strangulation on custom window coverings unless there is also an integrated and durable safety feature that will adequately address the hazard.
Despite the risk of strangulation, some consumers do not want to remove continuous loops from their windows. These people may be interested in using these window coverings, but are worried about the accessibility of the cords or not being able to afford them. They may also be concerned about strangulation. For these reasons, it is important that manufacturers and installers consider the possibility that some consumers will choose to install continuous loops with tension devices.
Cord Release Devices
Window covering cords, such as standard operating cords (pull cords), continuous cord loop operating systems, and lifting cords, pose strangulation hazards to children when they are accessible. The risk of strangulation is greatest when the cords are too long to wrap around a child’s neck and when they are tangled or kinked. CPSC has received reports about near-miss and fatal strangulations in children aged 8 and under with window coverings.
CPSC reviewed incident data from 2009 to 2020 and found that most incidents involved accessible window covering cords long enough to wrap around a child’s head. Using this analysis, staff estimates that an average of 7.8 annual deaths occur among children 8 years old and younger due to window covering cords.
The hazard is even greater when the window covering cord is long enough to be tangled, or the cord tilt option is used on custom windows blinds cheapest. This is because the operating cords on these types of window coverings get longer as they are raised, allowing a child to easily manipulate the hazardous cords and create a strangulation hazard.
This hazard is so severe that CPSC requires that window coverings cords be made inaccessible to windows or not hazardous. The rule provides several methods, including rigid cord shrouds and retractable cords, to make cords inaccessible or non-hazardous, but they must be integrated with the product as sold.
In addition, the rule requires that any restraining device prevents the formation of a hazardous continuous cord loop. The rule allows loop cord and bead chain restraining devices to meet the requirements of section 4.3.1 of ANSI/WCMA-2018, but requires test methods to ensure durability over time.
CPSC has determined that operating cords on custom window coverings pose an unreasonable risk of strangulation to children 8 years old and younger, and therefore the Commission is issuing this final rule under section 7(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). This rule is also being finalized by the Commission under section 15(j). This section sets forth performance requirements that are reasonable to prevent or reduce an unreasonable danger of injury or death from the use of a corded custom-window covering.