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October Declared National Window Covering Safety Month: Consumers Reminded of the Potential Dangers of Window Blind Cords.

NEW YORK -- For the second year in a row, the window covering industry and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have launched a month-long safety education campaign to raise awareness of the strangulation hazards that window cords can pose to young children.

The October campaign, organized under the banner of National Window Covering Safety Month, will urge parents to replace or retrofit miniblinds and corded window coverings purchased before 2001 with today's safer products. Since 1991, more than 175 infants and children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords.

The non-profit Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC), which promotes window-cord safety and provides free retrofit kits to consumers, is coordinating the industry's cord-safety efforts for the October campaign. Window-covering merchants around the country will display signs and materials featuring a "Kids, Cords, Caution" slogan to remind parents to replace or retrofit their older corded window coverings. In addition, safety groups, health organizations and housing authorities have joined the educational initiative.

"Because cord-safety features are now built into window coverings, we believe parents will feel more confident about their child's safety if they replace their older window coverings with the products now available," explained WCSC Executive Director Peter Rush. Consumers wishing to retrofit rather than replace their older window coverings can order free retrofit repair kits through WCSC's Web site at www.windowcoverings.org or its toll-free phone line at 1-800-506-4636.

In recent years, the window covering industry has redesigned all corded products and developed cord-safety standards to respond to child strangulation concerns. In addition, fully cordless miniblinds, pleated shades and vertical blinds are now widely available and recommended for use in children's rooms and play areas.

Because millions of unrepaired, older corded window coverings still exist in homes, and new parents are sometimes unaware of cord dangers, National Window Covering Safety Month will re-emphasize basic window-cord safety rules, and encourage parents and caregivers to repair or replace pre-2001 products with today's safer designs that meet current ANSI standards.

In addition, WCSC urges parents and caregivers to heed the following cord-safety rules:

--Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.

--Keep all window cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled pull cords are short, and that continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the floor or wall.

--Consider installing cordless window coverings in children's bedrooms and play areas.

--Lock cords into position whenever lowering horizontal blinds or shades, including when they come to rest on a window sill.

--Retrofit window blinds, corded shades and draperies manufactured before 2001 with retrofit cord-repair devices, or replace them with today's safer products.

The Window Covering Safety Council is a coalition of major U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings.

Note to Editors: Line illustrations and captions describing how to retrofit older window blinds can be downloaded at www.windowcoverings.org/media.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 29, 2004
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