WSJ: A Rule of Blind Injustice

“The new regulatory standard for household products is zero risk.”

The Wall Street Journal editorializes,

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) never seems to take a day off, so we can’t either. In its latest foray on child safety, the agency has set its sights on the household terror of… window blinds.

The problem with blinds, according to safety advocates, is that the cords can be a temptation to young children, ensnaring or strangling them if they become entangled. While the industry has adopted voluntary standards for reducing the risk to children, the agency says that improving safety and reducing the hazard isn’t enough. It wants zero risk…

The CPSC estimates that about 12 children a year die in accidents with window blinds. Every death or injury of a child is tragic, but the risk posed by blinds is dwarfed by other common dangers. According to Consumer Reports, more than 5,000 children a year are injured or killed falling out of open windows and through window screens. Electrical outlets also pose a risk, but no one has suggested removing those through regulation…

In order to remove all risk, all new blinds would have to be made without any of the cords traditionally used to raise or lower them, including safety varieties that tie down or up or can be retracted out of a toddler’s reach. While the industry already offers cordless products for consumers who want them, a ban would affect the more than 80% of products that do use cords, requiring costly changes in manufacturing and design.

The new standards would apply regardless of where the blinds are located, even if there are no children in the house. While a new rule would bring new gizmos to replace the basic pulley mechanisms, the more expensive systems could also discourage consumers from replacing older blinds.

Read the full Wall Street Journal editorial (subscription required).

2 thoughts on “WSJ: A Rule of Blind Injustice”

  1. Did they drive cars to that conference? You know, car accidents were responsible for 42,636 deaths in 2005. SOME of those were bound to be children (10,000 were passengers). So if at least 12 were children, wouldn’t it make sense to ban cars, or at least require the industry to make cars that can’t kill children? Water is another killer. In 2004, of all children 1-4 years old who died, 26% died from drowning (CDC 2006). And yet, we’re going after a trivial 12? Really? I mean, REALLY?

  2. What a monumental waste of resources. Yet another attempt by the nanny staters to keep us all safe. Since these folks can’t really keep us safe they choose such symbolic acts as this in order to lay the claim that they are keeping us safe.

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