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October is National Window Covering Safety Month

Corona, CA, October 16, 2007 --( October is a great month to focus on the many ways we might improve the health or safety of our children, and it’s set aside for awareness-building campaigns for many causes, from fire safety to getting kids to walk or bike ride to school. Window treatments might not immediately come to mind as home safety hazards, but they could well be, according to leading web and catalog retailer Smith+Noble.

“Specifically,” points out Smith+Noble President John Hoven, “parents and caregivers should consider window cord safety. Since 1991, more than 175 infants and children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords. Pet owners should also be aware of this problem, since a frolicsome pup or inquisitive cat can also be easily entrapped by a stray cord.”

Addressing the problem, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) are co-sponsoring October as National Window Covering Safety Month, an educational campaign to increase awareness of window cord dangers and urge replacement of corded blinds, shades and drapery purchased before 2001 with today’s safer products.

In recent years, the window covering industry has redesigned its corded products and developed cord-safety standards to respond to child strangulation concerns. Looped pull cords were eliminated from mini blinds as of 1995, permanent tie-down devices were attached to vertical blinds and traverse draperies in 1997, and built-in cord stops were added to horizontal blinds and corded shades beginning in 2001.

Still, it’s estimated that consumers have not yet retrofitted millions of older, corded window coverings, and new parents and pet owners are sometimes unaware of potential cord dangers.

“Because cord-safety features are now built into window coverings, we encourage parents to enhance their childrens’ safety by replacing window coverings purchased prior to 2001,” explains Smith+Noble’s John Hoven. “We also recommend that parents consider using cordless window treatments in children’s bedrooms and play areas.”

Of course, every Smith+Noble window treatment conforms strictly to today’s safety standards, including permanent tie-down devices and built-in cord stops. For additional child and pet safety, the company offers a number of affordable enhancements:

• Loop Control is offered on many of Smith+Noble’s most popular shade and blind styles. This desirable upgrade eliminates dangling lift cords, with the bonus of being able to raise, lower and position your treatment easily and evenly. A cord guide keeps cords neatly in place for added safety, and a clutch stops and holds the shade or blind precisely at any height. Loop Control is included on Smith+Noble Solar Roller Shades, and available as a very reasonably priced upgrade on Honeycomb Shades, Roller Shades, Natural Woven Shades, Wood Blinds, Durawood Blinds, Pleated Shades and Fabric Shades.
• An ingenious cordless lift system, available on Smith+Noble Honeycomb Shades, also replaces dangerous lift cords as you lightly push a handle up or pull down to position your shades.
• For traversing Drapery or Vertical Blind systems, select wand pull rather than cord operation.
• Another high-tech, sure-fire way to eliminate dangerous cords is by choosing the new shade motorization upgrade available on Smith+Noble Honeycomb, Fabric, Natural Woven and Roller Shades. With it you can raise and lower your treatment with the push of a remote button or flip of a wall switch, and operate multiple shades at distances of up to 50’.

Safe new treatments or retrofitting old ones is vitally important. But you can also maximize safety when pets or children under the age of six are present by following a few easy rules set forth by the Window Covering Safety Council:

• Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.
• Keep all window pull cords and inner lift cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled pull cords are short, that continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the floor or wall, and that cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement of inner lift cords.
• Lock cords into position whenever horizontal blinds or shades are lowered, including when they come to rest on a windowsill.
• Replace window blinds, corded shades and draperies manufactured before 2001 with today's safer products. Install cordless window coverings in children's bedrooms and play areas.

Consumers can get more information about all Smith+Noble custom window treatments at Free tassels, tie-downs and cord stops for retrofitting cords are available from the Window Covering Safety Council by visiting its Web site at or calling 1-800-506-4636.

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Anna Gould

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