Today, the Commission took long overdue action to prevent the deaths of babies and small children who strangle to death after getting caught in window cords by unanimously adopting two mandatory safety rules. For decades, manufacturers have known of these deaths and injuries but taken too few steps to address this hazard. The rules we adopted will force a change in the industry that will prevent these unnecessary tragedies and protect future generations.
The Commission’s action is the culmination of years of work by advocates and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff who have dedicated tremendous amounts of time, energy, and passion to improving window covering safety for all Americans.
Linda Kaiser with Parents for Window Blind Safety has been a consistent voice for safety, keeping the pressure on the industry and on the CPSC to prevent future tragedy. Her organization, along with Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Kids in Danger, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, Independent Safety Consulting, Safety Behavior Analysis, Inc., and Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC filed a petition eight years ago calling for a mandatory safety standard for window coverings. Thank you for that filing and for keeping the focus on this issue for all of these years.
The first rule adopted by the Commission, developed under section 15(j) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, deems that the inner cords of all window coverings and the operating cords of stock coverings present a substantial product hazard if they do not meet the requirements of the existing voluntary standard for cords.
The second rule, developed under Sections 7 and 9 of the CPSA, establishes a safety standard for operating cords for all custom window coverings – a safety gap that is left by the voluntary standard.
It is impossible to know exactly which babies will be saved and which parents and caregivers will not have to suffer the loss of a child – but there is no doubt there are children who will grow to adulthood and families kept whole by these rules.
I thank the staff for their hard work in putting this together. I thank my fellow Commissioners and their staffs for their support for this proposal. I’m looking forward to continuing our safety work and laying the foundation for the next 50 years of safer products.