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  • The Royal Team

Navigating Safety: The Revolutionary Update to Window Covering Standards Part 1 of 3

In a significant move to enhance safety within homes and public spaces, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) has proudly announced a groundbreaking update to the window covering safety standard, as ratified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This crucial development introduces stringent requirements for window coverings, with the revised ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2022 standard aiming to substantially mitigate the risk of strangulation hazards that cords present, especially to young children.

In a series of 3 Blog Posts, the team here at Royal Textile Products will help guide you through what this means for your window treatment options.

Under the new guidelines, set to redefine window covering safety, an overwhelming majority (over 95%) of window coverings sold in the United States will need to be either entirely cordless or feature cords that are inaccessible or significantly shorter. This revision is not just a step forward; it's a leap towards ensuring that the dangers once associated with window covering cords become a thing of the past.

The revision specifically targets the elimination of free-hanging operating cords, tilt cords, and multiple cord connectors for all custom-made window covering products. This means that for stock products, which make up more than 80% of all window covering products sold in the U.S. and were already subject to stringent cord restrictions following the WCMA’s 2018 update, the safety standard will now be universally applicable.

The 2022 amendment also sees the prohibition of continuous cord loops and bead chains in all horizontal slatted custom products. Moreover, it introduces enhanced performance requirements for custom products that still utilize retractable cord systems, rigid shrouds, and continuous cord loop systems with tension devices, ensuring that even these exceptions prioritize safety.

The compliance deadline is set for June 1, 2024, marking a pivotal date for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of window covering products across the U.S. From this date, all products manufactured must adhere to the new standard, signifying a collective stride towards eliminating the hazards associated with corded window coverings.

WCMA Executive Director, Ralph Vasami, underscores the importance of this update, highlighting its foundation on comprehensive incident data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

. This data demonstrates the critical need for such reforms to address the real and present danger of strangulation risks to children, providing an immediate and significant impact on enhancing safety.

Acknowledging the needs of a diverse range of consumers, including the elderly, those with disabilities, individuals with large or hard-to-reach windows, and commercial establishments, the updated standard allows for corded window coverings through custom-order products. These products will incorporate either retractable cords or continuous cord loop systems equipped with tension devices, ensuring that while safety is paramount, functionality and accessibility are not compromised.

The update represents a collaborative effort among industry stakeholders, the CPSC, safety experts, and other relevant parties under the ANSI umbrella. The process adheres to ANSI's globally respected requirements for developing standards, ensuring an open, balanced approach with ample opportunities for public review.

This landmark revision to the window covering safety standard is more than just a regulatory update; it's a testament to the industry's commitment to safety, innovation, and responsiveness to consumer needs and concerns. As we move towards the June 2024 compliance date, the window covering industry is set to emerge as a leader in product safety, setting a benchmark for others to follow.

In essence, the updated ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2022 standard is not merely a regulatory change; it's a transformative shift towards a safer future, where the well-being of the most vulnerable is protected through proactive, thoughtful, and inclusive safety standards.

Here at Royal Textile Products we are experts in the entire process start to finish when it comes to all forms of window treatments, and we're happy to help navigate the process of finding the right options for your project no matter the size or starting point. Contact us today to discuss your options, and stay tuned for part two in our three part series, where we'll discuss the differences between corded blinds and cordless blinds.

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