New Safety Program to Help Consumers and Retailers Easily Identify Products for Homes with Young Children
WASHINGTON — The Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) today announced the industry’s first third-party certification program designed to help consumers and retailers identify window covering products that are certified as best suited for use in homes with young children. The new Best for Kids program will require products that manufacturers want to be part of the program to meet stringent criteria, and to submit those products to a WCMA-recognized third party testing laboratory. Products that meet these criteria will be eligible to be listed and labeled on packaging and materials as “certified,” and companies can use this designation on their marketing materials.
“For years the window covering industry has joined with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and safety groups to urge parents to use only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords in homes with young children,” said WCMA Executive Director Ralph Vasami. “This new program provides clarity to consumers and retailers who will be able to easily identify those products that have been independently tested specifically to meet these criteria.”
In order to earn the “Certified” designation a window covering product must either have no cords or the inner cords cannot be accessible, as defined by the industry’s safety standard (ANSI/WCMA A 100.1-2012). If accessible inner cords are present in products with no operating cords, the accessible inner cords cannot create a hazardous loop in accordance with the test procedures in Appendix D of the safety standard. The Best for Kids program includes criteria to evaluate window covering products primarily intended for use in homes or buildings in which young children are expected to be present. Based on the evaluation of those criteria, the program allows for a window covering product to be certified and recommended for use in such environments.
“We anticipate the retail community embracing the new Best for Kids program as it will assist them in promoting to their customers those window covering products that are most suitable for homes with young children,” continued Vasami.
In order to participate in the Best for Kids program, manufacturers must have the products they determine meet the program criteria assessed by a WCMA-recognized laboratory. Physical samples of the products must be submitted to the laboratory for review and analysis to determine if they meet the Best for Kids program criteria. For products that pass the test, the laboratory will send a report to the company that the submitted products meet the criteria and may be labeled.
WCMA expects an increase in the number of products certified Best for Kids as companies continue to innovate and more products are promoted in the market. ”
Cordless technology continues to evolve and is currently available in many popular styles; however, it is not available affordably in all product styles and sizes. In addition, cordless solutions are often not appropriate for and/or don’t work in certain applications or for certain consumers. Corded products that comply with the current safety standard are essential to meet the needs and desires of disparate consumers, including the elderly and users with disabilities,” said Vasami. “The Best for Kids program in no way diminishes the requirement that all window covering products must be manufactured in accordance with the most current version of the ANSI/WCMA A 100.1-2012 standard. In addition, the launch of this program will not deter the industry’s ongoing efforts to update the voluntary safety standard, work with CPSC and fund and implement a nationwide public education campaign through the Window Covering Safety Council to promote window covering safety.”