Frequently Asked Questions On The New Window Covering Safety Standard

What does the new standard do?
The new safety standard will ensure that a vast majority of window covering products sold in the United States and Canada will be cordless or have inaccessible or short cords by requiring that all stock products (items sold in stores and online)—which account for more than 80 percent of all window covering products sold in the U.S. and Canada — to be cordless or have inaccessible cords. This approach is supported by a review of the hazard data that shows that a vast majority of incidents related to corded window coverings identified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) take place on stock products.

What is a stock product?
Most window covering products sold to consumers in retail stores or online are “stock” products, meaning that the products are completely or substantially fabricated in advance of being distributed in commerce. The product can either be sold “as is” or modified or adjusted by the seller, manufacturer, or distributor prior to being distributed in commerce in the U.S. and it would still be considered a stock blind, shade or shading product.

What is a custom product?
A custom product is any window covering that is not classified as a stock window covering, i.e., a “ready-made” product, available off the shelf.

Why aren’t custom products required to be cordless?
At this time, cordless products do not meet all the needs and desires of all consumers, including the elderly and users with disabilities. As a result, manufacturers need to be able to sell corded products to these customers and for certain applications. When purchasing custom products, a consumer is required to interact with a salesperson or installation specialist, who provides window covering safety information, specifically regarding the fact that consumers should not use corded products in homes with young children. It should also be noted that there are many cordless options for custom products.

What are the other updates from the last version of the safety standard?
The revised standard imposes new restrictions on these custom-order products such as requiring operating cords to have a default length of 40% of the blind height [currently it is unlimited] and a default to a tilt wand instead of a tilt cord. The new safety standard also includes a change in warning tags to more graphically depict the strangulation hazard.

When will the new standard go into effect?
The effective date of the new standard is December 15, 2018.

What products are covered under the new standard?
The standard applies to all types of window coverings sold or manufactured in the U.S. by all participants in the window coverings industry.

What if I want to buy a cordless window covering now?
There are many cordless options available to consumers now and the window covering industry, easily identifiable by the ‘Best for Kids’ label. Consumers today can look for the “Best for Kids” certification label to identify cordless window covering options. WCMA created the “Best for Kids” certification program in 2015 to make it easier for consumers shopping for window coverings to identify cordless products.

Where can I get more information?
For information on the Window Covering Safety Council’s ongoing national public education campaign, visit www.windowcoverings.org.