I received this letter from Hunter Douglas in response to the media report you may have seen this last weekend. Kempler Design has been at the forefront of child safety and wanted to let you know the industry response. As you know, the media likes drama and this is a good case of that. The industry is trying to protect itself, so use a sense of balance when reading.
“November 4, 2015
Dear Hunter Douglas Retail Partner:
The purpose of this letter is to:1.Inform you of a media report likely to be aired on either the ABC news program “20/20” or “Nightline” on the evening of November 6th regarding the hazards associated with corded window covering products.
1. Provide you with information to help address potential questions from your customers. As you may know, the Chairman of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and certain other consumer advocate groups have been lobbying to ban all window coverings with accessible cords from the marketplace. While we do not know the exact details of what will be reported during the segment, we want to make certain that our retail partners are aware of the extensive efforts being made by the industry as a whole, and Hunter Douglas in particular, to develop alternative cordless products and to educate consumers about available product options best suited to homes with infants and young children.
The industry’s collective product development and consumer awareness efforts are producing positive results. During the last 5 years, the average number of window covering fatalities has declined by over 50% as compared to the annual average for the period between 1997 and 2010. Of course, even one child fatality is one too many, yet these tragic accidents are extremely rare – – in 2015 YTD, there have been 4 fatalities associated with corded window treatments on an industry-wide basis among the estimated 1 billion window covering products used daily in homes across the country.
It is important to note that the vast majority of incidents involve significantly older corded products – – ones manufactured prior to the first WCMA/ ANSI voluntary safety standard enacted in 1997. In fact, Hunter Douglas is not aware of any fatalities involving any products manufactured by us in the past 15 years.
Hunter Douglas has proactively and aggressively pursued the development of new cordless operating systems. We are proud to lead the industry in this regard having pioneered and introduced to the marketplace the widest range of cordless lift system innovations. In fact, all Hunter Douglas product categories now offer cordless or inaccessible cord options.◦We believe that all Hunter Douglas products, both corded and cordless, are safe when properly installed and operated. All Hunter Douglas products are manufactured to comply with the world’s most stringent window covering standard – – the current WCMA/ANSI voluntary safety standard for corded window covering products.
Hunter Douglas and the industry in general continue to strongly recommend that only cordless products or products with inaccessible cords be used in homes with infants or young children. Hunter Douglas regularly develops, promotes and distributes window covering safety awareness and education materials and content through public relations activities, at point-of-sale, posted online and in dealer advertising materials. In partnership with you, our retail partners, we are confident that we do more than any other company in our industry to educate consumers about window covering safety and guide their product selection to options that best meet their needs.Window covering safety is a priority, and Hunter Douglas remains deeply committed in our pursuit of cordless innovations, consumer education and the further reduction of window covering related accidents.We hope that this information proves useful to you in addressing any customer concerns or questions. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact your Hunter Douglas sales representative if we can assist you in any other way.”