After two decades of fruitless interaction between the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the window covering industry, the commission voted last Friday afternoon to officially put one step forward toward a mandatory standard.
The vote was unanimous to publish an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
“It speaks to the new tenure of Chairman [Elliot] Kaye to make this a priority,” says Kaye’s spokesman Scott Wolfson. “From the chairman’s perspective, the status quo has been broken and we are on a different path than that of the past few years. Chairman Kaye believes in what the law calls for — a robust voluntary standard. But, there is evidence the voluntary standards process is not working to the benefit of the consumer. He is ready to lead and the staff is ready to act.”
This is all a nice way of saying that the commission finally wearied of going to meetings of the Window Coverings Manufacturers Association and suggesting standard changes to prevent children from being strangled by window blind cords, only to be patted on the head and ignored.
According to the injury and death data analysis prepared by the CPSC staff, and outlined in the briefing package, 11 children are strangled each year from window blind cords – an average that has remained unchanged for many years. The CPSC’s emergency department-treated injury data (National Electronic Injury Surveillance System or NEISS) found an estimated 1,590 children received treatment for injuries resulting from entanglements on window covering cords from 1996 through 2012.