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Cutting the Cord: Preparing for the Next Wave of Window Coverings
Cordless blinds and shades have several features and benefits that have contributed to their growing popularity. Clean, elegant styles dress up a room. Simpler mechanics make them easy to use and can reduce maintenance requirements. But the most important benefit cordless window coverings offer is the elimination of a lurking danger within homes. Window treatments with cord pulls create a breathtaking hazard for small children and pets. On average, one child each month dies in an accident involving cords on window blinds and shades. From 1990 to 2015, more than 16,000 children made emergency room visits for blind-related injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission regards corded blinds as one of the top five hidden safety hazards in homes.
A December 2017 study published in Pediatrics reinvigorated our understanding of and response to the deadly risk. It noted that while all blind-related injuries were not necessarily related to entanglement with the cords, two-thirds of those that were resulted in death. The Pediatrics study prompted swift industry response. Within a month of its publication, the Window Coverings Manufacturer Association (WCMA) announced new standards to end the manufacture of corded blinds by December 15, 2018.
This raises some important decisions for public housing owners and operators to make about their window shades and blinds. The type of properties, residents and tenants you serve will determine your needs and options for buying or replacing window coverings. Here are some keys to consider for making the right choices as manufacturers and properties of all types begin to cut the cord.
Assess Your Property Risk and Need
The first step is to take inventory. What types of window coverings populate your property? How many corded blinds does your property currently have? Are those blinds in areas where children reside?
While this article does not offer legal guidance or advice—your legal counsel and risk managers do. Seek their input as to your properties’ risk profile and potential liability with the shift toward cordless blinds and shades.
As new products enter the market, existing stock will no longer be available, requiring public housing authorities to understand and comply with the changes. This article will help guide your decisions related to budget and timing for window treatment replacements and upgrades.
Learn Your Cordless Options and Benefits
The extensive benefits of cordless window coverings justify the sometimes higher price tags:
Safety: We have recounted the research that documents the risk of cord entanglement for small children. (Pets are also at risk.) Cordless window coverings eliminate that danger, reassuring tenants and providing peace of mind.
Ease of Use: Cordless shades and blinds are elegantly simple to use—usually just a push to open and a pull to close, easily adjusting window privacy and light. There are no dangling cords that tangle or loosen over time. The simplicity and integrity of the hardware also reduces maintenance requirements.
Attractiveness and Style: With no untidy strings, clean, attractive cordless blinds and shades complement the décor of any room. The shade or blind can integrate with the look of the window to become a complete home styling decoration and not merely a window covering. They are appealing to tenants, improve safety and reduce risk, all while lowering energy costs.
Make a Plan for Budget and Timing
So when should you upgrade to cordless blinds and shades on your properties? This is where your initial assessment provides critical guidance. You have two primary options:
All at Once: Budget and plan for a one-time replacement across all of your units and buildings.
Gradual Replacement: Upgrade over time as part of your unit turn or replacement maintenance schedule, potentially spreading out costs but also delaying upgrades that add appeal and safety.
If you determined that your risk and needs are urgent, start measuring and planning now for a replacement project as soon as possible. If the need is less urgent, begin budgeting and planning to replace corded window coverings on a schedule that makes the most sense for your tenants.
Rely on Your Supplier for Guidance and Support
Clearly you have many things to consider in making the right choices for window coverings. Don’t do it alone. Contact your supplier early in the process, while performing your property assessment. With the industry preparing for imminent transition to cordless window coverings, more products and options are emerging all the time.
Look to your supplier to help plan the timing and effort for installation. A quality, reliable supplier will have comprehensive knowledge about changing standards, and provide the most updated industry trends and choices. Thoughtful assessment, education, planning, and collaboration with your supplier today will ensure your smooth transition to smart, safe window coverings for your properties.
HD Supply is dedicated to being Easy, Accurate and Helpful. For more information about how we can help you transition your property to cordless blinds, contact your HD Supply Facilities Maintenance sales rep or visit us online at www.HDSupplySolutions.com.