Posted by: Diane Capuano
Increased public awareness of the child strangulation risk posed by cords on Roman and roll-up blinds has caused a dramatic rise in requests for free retrofit kits that alleviate the problem, according to the Window Covering Safety Council.
WCSC Executive Director Ralph Vasami reported that requests for the kits has risen significantly in the past two calendar years. “Prior to 2009, the average was 55,000-60,000 retrofit kits distributed per year. In 2009, we distributed 153,245 kits, which is nearly triple that rate,” he said.
For the first quarter of 2010, demand has still been high, with 32,489 retrofit kits requested. Demand is still high in the wake of a December 2009 announcement in which the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the WCSC jointly recalled Roman and roll-up blinds for repair due to the child strangulation risk.These kits are offered free of charge to consumers and are funded by WCSC members.
“There is a two-fold goal in terms of awareness,” Vasami said. “One is to alert the public to the danger presented by these cords. The other is to make the public aware that there are cordless options when they go shopping for window coverings and to take advantage of those options.”
Vasami also stressed the importance of understanding basic safety guidelines when it comes to using window coverings, such as moving cribs and furniture away from window coverings and keeping all cords on existing window coverings out of the reach of children. “We’re trying to get those messages out in pediatricians’ offices and early child care centers.”
In addition, WCSC has been proactive in working on develop of a specification for safer window cords that can be tested and verified. “We’re working very closely in cooperation with CPSC on standards to drive the safety issue,” Vasami said.
For more information or to order a free retrofit kit, visit the WCSC’s website.
Tags: window coverings