CPSC Announces October as Window Covering Safety MonthConsumers Urged to Repair or Replace Old Window Coverings

September 30, 2003
Release Number: 03-200

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 stops.

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 1-800-506-4636. 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 attached.

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 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:

1. Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.

2. 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.

3. Lock cords into position when lowering horizontal coverings or shades to prevent inner-cord hazards.

4. Repair window coverings, corded shades and draperies manufactured before 2001 with retrofit cord-repair devices, or replace them with today's safer products.

5. Consider installing cordless window coverings in children's bedrooms and play areas.


Retailers, Manufacturers and Importers Participating in Window Covering Safety Campaign

Window Covering Safety Council Members

3 Day Blinds, Inc.
Achim Imports
All Strong Industrial USA Corp.
Big Lots Stores, Inc.
Blinds To Go
C-MOR Shade Products Corp.
Chateau Enterprises Inc.
Comfortex Window Fashions
Custom Craft Company
Elegant Windows
Gilmore Enterprises Inc.
Hunter Douglas Inc.
Ikea U.S.
JC Penney
Julius Koch USA Inc.
Kenny Manufacturing
K-Mart Corporation
Levolor Kirsch
Lewis Hyman Inc.
Lotus & Windoware, Inc.
Main Fine USA
Next Day Blinds
Pier One Imports
Richview by Tehdex
RollEase, Inc.
Royal Window Coverings USA
Springs Window Fashions
Superior Window Shades
Target Corporate
Value City Department Stores
Vertilux Ltd.
Vista Products, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc



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 safety.

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


Independent Retailers (not members of Window Covering Safety Council)

Home Depot

Lowers