Understanding the new regulations on corded window treatments

Understanding the new regulations on corded window treatments

February 19, 2019 12:52 pm Published by

For a while, consumers have been cautioned about the safety concerns of corded window treatments, such as blinds and shades.  Between 2012 to 2017 there have been 50 fatalities from window cord strangulation reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  One study even found that from 1990 to 2015 there were almost 17,000 injuries related to cords.   In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has consistently called corded window treatments one of the “Top 5 Hidden Hazards in the Home.”

Woman and child reading in bedroom with shutters

The new safety regulations on corded window treatments is good news for kids’ safety.

As of December 2018, there are new safety standards regarding the manufacturing of corded window treatments.  Now, any “stock” window covering should be cordless or have inaccessible cords.  This means any off-the-shelf blinds, shades, and the like would not be able to use long, dangling cords that have caused injury and strangulation.  It’s estimated that these regulations affect about 80% of window coverings sold in the U,S. and Canada, so it looks like these standards are going to have a lasting effect on household safety.

Mom and child in kitchen with child-friendly shutters.

Plantation shutters are a great cordless window treatment for any home.

We at Sunburst applaud this decision and the Window Covering Manufacturers Association’s move towards safety.  We were the first shutter company to receive the Parents for Window Blind Safety Seal of Approval, and we’re glad that the majority of window treatments will now be child-friendly.  However, we have been receiving some questions on the new requirements, so we will review them further.

Safety Regulations Apply to “Stock” Window Treatments

The new requirements state that all “stock” window treatments should either be cordless or have inaccessible cords.  A “stock” treatment is anything sold off-the-shelf at a retail store or online.  Basically, if you pick up a blind or shade at your local home improvement store or order one online, you are buying a “stock” window treatment.  Custom-made window coverings are not affected by the safety requirements, especially when the cords are used for an accommodation for people with disabilities or the elderly.

What Defines an Inaccessible Cord?

Short cords are admissible on a stock window treatment as long as they do not pose a strangulation or injury hazard.  If the covering does use a cord, it must be no more than 40% of the window treatment height and should not dangle down.  Coverings may also use internal cords, like on blinds that operate by pulling the bottom bar.  Custom-made window treatments should default to tilt rods and internal mechanisms.

Should you replace your window treatments?

These regulations only affect window treatments manufactured after December 2018, and there is no recall on corded window treatments manufactured before December.  However, if you have young children or have children who regularly visit your home, you should still upgrade your corded shades and blinds.

Woman lowering cordless shades in living room with child.

Some cordless shades life and lower via a bottom bar.

With the new regulations, people are now looking at the entire range of cordless options when buying new or replacing their window treatments.  Plantation shutters have never used cords and open and close using a center tilt rod.  Cellular shades use internal cords and raise and lower via the bottom bar.  Other options include barn door treatments that slide on a track above the window and motorized shades and blinds that open by remote control.

Sunburst Can Help You Find The Perfect Cordless Option

Now is the perfect time to upgrade to a cordless window treatment, and Sunburst can help.  Schedule your in-person consultation by calling 877-786-2877 or complete the form below, and we will show you a variety of cord-free and safer options.

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