Groups Say Window Cords Still Strangle Kids

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Consumer Product Safety Commission seeks comments on a petition for mandatory regulations for cords on window coverings, such as blinds and shades, that advocacy groups maintain are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children.
     Nine groups signed the petition, citing 324 strangulation deaths and 122 injuries since 1985, according to the CPSC in its notice.
     The groups include Parents for Window Blind Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Kids in Danger, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group), Independent Safety Consulting, Safety Behavior Analysis Inc. and Onder Shelton O’Leary & Peterson, a personal injury law firm based in St. Louis, Mo.
     Voluntary regulations were adopted in 1996 by the American National Standards Institute and have been updated five times since. The voluntary approach proved a failure, data showing voluntary regulations to be inadequate in preventing cases of strangulation and injury, according to the CPSC’s notice.
     There is also a problem with compliance.
     “Petitioners assert that substantial noncompliance with the voluntary standard is demonstrated by CPSC’s 16 recalls involving blinds that purportedly complied with the voluntary standard since 2007. Petitioners state that CPSC found numerous other violations of the voluntary standard when evaluating Roman shades and roll-up shades, including looped pull cords, no inner cord stops, no tension devices, and failure to attach tension devices to a continuous loop cord. Petitioners assert that many of these products had been on the market for years before the defects were detected and recalled,” according to the CPSC’s notice.
     The petitioning groups noted that of the 250 incidents between 1996 and 2012, 40 percent would not have been prevented by adherence to the current 2012 voluntary standard.
     The groups seek federally mandated regulations to help remedy the situation.
     Comments are due by Sept. 13.

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