Accidents can happen anywhere, especially in your own home. While something like window cords or glass cleaners may seem harmless, these are among the numerous household items that are potentially dangerous. For this reason, legislation like the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and similar ones exist. Though it cannot shield consumers completely from harm caused by negligence or simple oversight, it remains one of the best tools consumers have at their disposal for ensuring the products they purchase are safe.
To prevent incidents from occurring, the legislation and, more specifically, this provision requires industries to inform Health Canada any product safety concerns (including manufacturing defects and incidents) that have or could have resulted in some form of bodily harm to the end consumer. This provision also applies to products that may be mislabelled or do not have clear instructions.
While most consumers don’t think about the potential dangers of every product that end up in their shopping cart, fortunately, protective legislations and industries hold this responsibility.
Case and Point: Window Blinds
This household staple is the perfect example of consumer protection legislation and responsible manufacturers working together. For a number of years, a variety of aluminum window blinds were considered unsafe household items. The reason wasn’t the blinds themselves, but rather the long cord used to open and close the window treatments, which presented choking hazards to small children. In fact, these were responsible for a staggering reported 359 casualties and injuries that occured between 1981-1995, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
One of the reasons these mishaps were so common is because the product packaging failed to adequately communicate the harm that could be caused if the excess cordage was not kept out of a child’s reach. As the issue with the product became known, manufacturers had to redesign their product to ensure safety.
The Advent of Cordless Blinds
New cordless blinds and shades currently available on the market do offer a great deal above and beyond conventional window blinds. These window coverings don’t require dangling cords or chains to operate, thus eliminating the risk of cord strangulation for small children and pets. Motorized blinds and shades are another cord-free solution available to today’s consumers. These blinds operate at the touch of a button and can be set to timers, apps, and home automation systems.
However, it’s unclear whether ensuring safety was the driving force behind this change. Given the rise in popularity of smart home technology, it’s likely the industry would have eventually ended up offering a cordless solution. Then again, perhaps the public outcry is the very thing that led to the popularity of cordless blinds. Whatever the case may be, today’s window blinds are safer than ever.
In addition to shedding the maligned cordage, some of today’s more safety conscious window treatment options have the added benefit of being able to lock into a desired position. General ease of use has also been improved. No more cord means no more struggling trying to open and close blinds. Add a wide variety of styles and materials and opacity levels to the mix, and it’s easy to see the window blinds of yesteryear are a far cry to what’s available today.