New safety standards aimed to make window coverings safer for children

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A new safety standard designed to make window coverings safer for children will take effect next year.

The standard, passed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), will require all in-stock window covering products sold in the U.S. or Canada to be cordless or have inaccessible or short cords within the next year.

A 2017 study in the journal Pediatrics found that two children per day are hurt as a result of window blinds and one window blind death happens each month due to entanglement with a blind cord.

The new standard was created in conjunction with the Window Covering Manufacturers Association and specifically targets stock window blinds sold in stores or online.

Custom order blinds may still have cords, which could assist the elderly or those with disabilities, but many of the special order products will also move to become cordless or have inaccessible cords.

“We applaud the WCMA for working with ANSI to create this new standard for our industry,” said Kevin Welsh, owner at Budget Blinds of Chesapeake. “The new regulations will have a major impact on the number of injuries and deaths that occur among children from window coverings. As new offerings in window blinds become available, consumer education will be key to make sure each home has the window covering that is not only the most effective, but also safest, for their needs.”

It is recommended that those who are purchasing blinds that may have cords should ensure that the blinds have the WCMA “Best for Kids” seal of approval and have a cord consolidator with a built-in release system.

"Cordless shell shades is generally one of the best options out there because generally there is no cords and you just have a fabric product coming down so it doesn’t allow your child to get hurt on these products," Welsh told News 3 anchor Todd Corillo Tuesday.

The new standards take effect in January 2019, but many manufacturers will start offering the cordless products in 2018.