Updated Safety Standard to Eliminate Majority of Corded Window Coverings from U.S. Market

Window & Door
December 17, 2018
Organizations
A vast majority of window covering products sold in the United States will be cordless or have inaccessible or short cords as a result of a new safety standard that went into effect on Dec. 15, 2018, the Window Coverings Safety Council reports. This new requirement applies to stock products, sold in stores and online, which accounts for more than 80 percent of all window covering products sold in the U.S., according to the Council.
 
The new standard also adds requirements for corded custom window products. Corded window coverings can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and children and are one of the “top five hidden hazards in American homes,” according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
 
The Window Covering Manufacturers Association coordinated the two-year effort to update the safety standard, ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2018, under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute, working closely with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the window covering industry and consumer groups.
 
“The standard’s new requirements segments the market into custom and stock, and requires all stock products, sold in stores and online, to be cordless or have inaccessible or short cords,” says WCMA Executive Director Ralph Vasami. “Stock products account for more than 80 percent of all window covering products sold in the U.S. and CPSC incident data shows that requiring these products to be cordless or have inaccessible cords would have the most significant and immediate impact on reducing the strangulation risk to young children from certain window covering cords.”
 
Corded window coverings will only be available on custom-order products, according to WCSC, as corded products are still needed by a wide range of consumers, including the elderly and those with disabilities, those short in stature, and those with windows in hard-to-reach locations. The revised standard imposes new restrictions on these custom-order products such as requiring operating cords to have a default length of 40 percent of the blind height—currently, it is unlimited—and a default to a tilt wand instead of a tilt cord.
 
All products manufactured after Dec. 15 should comply with the new standard, although many manufacturers have already introduced new products based on the new standard since the standard was approved in January of 2018.
 
“Because many custom-order window coverings are available with cordless operating systems or have inaccessible cords, we estimate that as much as 90 percent of products sold in the U.S. will be cordless or have inaccessible cords once compliance with the new safety standard is in place,” says Vasami.
 
The WCSC provides an FAQ about the new standard on its website