Norman Window Fashions The ‘Best for kids’ Shades from Norman
They look innocuous! Many people don’t even consider window cords to be a threat for children. I myself have raised two children, completely unaware of the lurking danger posed by dangling cords to my kids, and the pets that we’ve had over the years. Were we just lucky? Though it did register somewhere in the subconscious, the warnings that window blinds cords were potential hazards for toddlers and pets. It all somehow seems so surreal, especially when I read about the two-year-old Cormac Thomas of Bethesda, Md., who was apparently only one of the 7 children who died last year. But it chilled me to my soul to hear of the death – the parents had the toddler’s room thoroughly accident-proofed, even buying shades that supposedly met the industry’s voluntary safety standards and fixing the cord cleats to the ceiling, no less, to tie the cord around, so there was no way the child could ever reach it. So it was all the more shocking to his mother when she found him lying underneath the window with his stuffed toys, his lips and fingers turning blue! He didn’t have a pulse, so she called 911 and started CPR, but in vain. Cormac was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. I can only imagine the haunting grief of the parents, especially as it was surmised that Cormac probably stuck his head in the shade to look outside only to have his head caught in the cords.
The Buzz on Window Coverings Cord Risks
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a child dies of strangulation by window blinds cords almost every month, making window coverings cords one of the top five ‘hidden hazards’ in the home.
For years, the Window Blinds Industry has said that voluntary manufacturing standards and its own educational programs were enough to reduce the death toll. But government agencies beg to differ, with the CPSC unanimously voting to start procedures that will eventually result in mandatory safety standards for all new window coverings, especially as in 2013, seven consumer groups, in addition to the ‘Parents for Window Blind Safety’, filed a petition insisting on stringent controls. The Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA), the industry’s trade group, remains confident that the CPSC would ultimately concede the industry’s voluntary standards are working, as there’s no “universal technological fix that exists today” that would cover the wide variety of window coverings on the market, according to Ralph Vasami, Executive Director, WCMA.
But the CPSC goes by statistics, not assurances. The standards revised in 2012 included durability and performance testing and specific installation and warning labels to be used, but stopped short of prohibiting cords, despite a strongly worded letter from the then-chairwoman of the Commission, Inez Tenenbaum, who urged the industry to adopt a comprehensive standard “that eliminates – not just reduces – the strangulation risks from window coverings.”
Children are Still Losing their Lives
According to data published by the CPSC, at least 332 children, mostly under two years, have died due to the scrooge that are window cords, another 165 injured, some of who have sustained extensive brain damage or quadriplegia requiring lifelong care and therapy, and 1,590 children received medical treatment for injuries related to entanglement with window covering cords. But as per the law, the CPSC is required to defer to industries that are developing standards voluntarily to fix products that harm consumers, and that manufacturers have a strong incentive to ensure that their products are safe. “How many years of professional courtesy should the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission extend to the window coverings industry before abandoning the voluntary standards process?” asked Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies, a Massachusetts-based research and advocacy firm. In an interview with FairWarning, Elliot Kaye, the CPSC’s chairman, acknowledged that the window blind problem is “probably unprecedented,” considering the lengthy delay in regulatory action, the vulnerable population, and the continuing deaths.
The above is courtesy FairWarning.org – Rick Schmitt
US Blinds Industry Officials protest, and through interviews and filings, have the changes incorporated in voluntary manufacturing standards, and technological advances have made window blinds safer than ever. The new innovations for safety like the patented child pet safety cord release devices made by Norman blinds. The new consolidates cords eliminate unsightly tangled-up, twisted pull cords and with the introduction of cordless blinds in the 1990’s. While some people in the industry claim that many types of blinds cannot operate without cords and would result in a drop in styles, industry giants such as Springs Window Fashions, Norman Window Coverings, Comfortex window coverings and Crown window Fashions have cordless options for all types of window coverings that they manufacture, with motorization of window coverings making excellent inroads as manufactures of home automation have slashed prices to make motorized window coverings convenient rather than just a fancy that only a certain income bracket can afford, more so because the Department of Energy recommends the use of automated window coverings as energy savers.
Industry officials say that parents can’t possibly shift the blame – a lot of the time, blinds aren’t properly maintained, and parents often don’t do enough to keep their children out of harm’s way. “The best way to bring about this change sooner is through consumer education, not through a mandatory standard that unfairly burdens industry and has a detrimental impact on the needs of numerous consumers,” the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, an industry trade group, said in a filing with the CPSC. Corded Blinds account for 75% of the industry’s estimated two billion dollar sales in the United States of America alone.
It’s Normal to Lead with Innovation by Norman!
To understand what Norman is all about, one needs to look at a few of their origins. For more than 40 years now, Norman has been, and continues to be, committed to excellence in the design and manufacturing window coverings, aside from being the world’s largest shutter manufacturer and the maker of the world’s ‘bestselling’ shutter. Norman keeps their ears to the ground, listening to their customers and assessing their needs to come up trumps with mind-blowing innovations that their competitors haven’t come close to! Lets’ first look at their original product – Interior Shutters. The shutters are designed to provide trouble-free operations that last a lifetime, made with engineered stiles, mortise & tenon joints, stainless steel staples, mitred corners for the frames, a proprietary prescription wood conditioning with no off-gassing (VOC’s) – the shutters are indeed backed by a lifetime warranty, showing that Norman puts their money where their mouth is! An extensive color palette on offer assures customers that the plantation shutters will fit into any color scheme they decide on: whites, off-white, grays, taupes, a classic black, and innumerous stained shutters – from white washed finishes to distinctive natural tones. Some of the frames on offer are nothing short of downright exclusive – L- frames, Z- frames, Hang strips, specialty tilt-in frames, and outside mount decorative frames with inserts that hide the nitty gritty of installation. The shutters are engineered to accommodate sizes of 1 ¼ to 4 ½ -inch elliptical louvers for varied requirements of light, view, and privacy.
Traditionally, shutter louvers or vanes are controlled with tilt rods; then, Norman came up with an innovative, award-winning gear-driven system that allows the louvers to be tilted without a tilt rod – InvisibleTilt – for wider, more streamlined views, allowing you to angle them to any direction in perfect synchronization, the louvers perfectly aligned with a gentle push on any louver. Cover great windows, arched windows, circular windows, half and quarter arches or transoms, angled windows, and skylights with these innovative shutters. Norman also provides track systems for patio doors, solutions for French windows, including cut-outs for those difficult levered doors.
The PerfectTilt RF
In this era of using smart technologies, Norman has capitalized on seamless convenience for shutter users. Using control technologies found in high-end stereo systems, Norman brings us a revolutionary remote controlled, whisper soft tilting system that requires no plug-in A/C adaptor or hardwiring, to tilt the louvers of individual or multiple panels, even for the InvisibleTilt system. This is the perfect system for homes with kids, pet, the infirm, or just to provide infallible convenience – no more do you have to get up from a comfy couch while reading a book or watching TV, or from bed to adjust the louvers to control glare, natural brightness or privacy. With a touch of the ergonomic remote that utilizes RF (radio frequency), you can control an unlimited number of shutters within a range of 65 feet, from anywhere in a building. An e-timer that is included can be set-up from a computer or smart phone from anywhere at any time, using Norman’s proprietary web interface. How much more safe and convenient can life be?! The motor is powered by either a green solar module or a rechargeable battery module, to tilt louvers to up to eight pre-set angles.
Shutters are by far a superior window covering product, no doubt, especially as they are available in engineered and composite varieties to suit the requirements of a variety of locations. But that’s not all Norman is famous for. Norman is an active participant in the WCMA “Best for Kids” certification program. All Norman blinds and shades with the “Best for Kids” designation have been rigorously tested and free from hazards due to pull cords or inner cords, in accordance with Appendix C of ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2002 and Appendix D of ANSI/WCMA A100.1 (2015), for honeycomb shades (cordless, cordless TDBU, vertical, cordless Day & Night), Cordless Roman, and Cordless Roller Shades, rewarded for their diligence in incorporating child-friendly protocols into their products. A quick synopsis –
CenterPiece with the AeroLite Cordless Roman Shades System
Patent-pending Norman’s Aerolite featured cordless roman shades system that is an ideal product with absolutely no cords that are often considered an eyesore. Even the fabric handle used to tug the shade gently up or down is hidden from view at the back of the shade.
You can choose from soft or flat folds, the latter either batten front, batten back, or seamless, for a reflection of personal preference, in both translucent or blackout options to customize to the requirements of the room it’s chosen for. The fabric ‘by the yard’ program allows you to use the same matching fabric to accent other pieces in a home. Crafted from exquisite fabrics sourced from the world over, in rich hues from soft to deep tones.
SmartFit – Portrait Cordless Cellular Shades the Best Honeycomb Shades
This an award-winning cordless system that allows cellular shades to sit really close against window edges for almost no light leakage while offering a clean profile for streamlined looks for windows, to be adjusted from either the top or the bottom with no necessity of cords. These patent SmartFit feature also serve the option of top down bottom up making these the best honeycomb shades with built-in features. The They also work beautifully with French doors and special applications such as sloped windows, with no danger of the shades sagging in the middle.
How to Look for Child-Safe Products?
“The window covering industry is committed to the ongoing innovation and improvement of our products to make them as safe as possible. In addition to the new standard, the WCMA and its member companies continue to work with the CPSC and others to implement a year-round national public education and information program to educate consumers about the safe use of window covering products. This includes National Window Covering Safety Month, jointly implemented by the Window Covering Safety Council and the CPSC, designed to raise awareness of safety issues. The Council also distributes hundreds of thousands of free kits to retrofit older window covering products. While no standard can eliminate all possible risk, we pledge to continually re-examine these standards to ensure that our products are on the leading edge of safety and quality,” said Vasami
The latest revision, ANSI/WCMA A100.1-2012, was updated in strict accordance with the internationally-respected American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process and is the sixth revision of the standard since 1996.
• Adds requirements for durability and performance testing of the tension/hold down devices, including new requirements for anchoring, specific installation instructions, and warnings.
• Provides a way to address innovations for controlling cords that do not use tension devices.
• Adds new requirements for products that rely on “wide lift bands” to raise and lower window coverings.
• Requires a warning label and pictograms on the outside of stock packaging and merchandising materials for corded products.
• Adds and expands testing requirements for cord accessibility, hazardous loop testing, Roll Up style shade performance, and durability testing of all safety devices.
But according to the Parents for Window Blind Safety, the one and only way to keep little ones safe is to go cordless, given the number of infant deaths in spite of improvements. Any model that had a corded loop or chain carries the risk of turning into a deadly noose. And though cordless shades are more expensive than their corded counterparts, what is the price of your child’s safety?
The three above Norman window covering options make for the safest of child proof blinds. I wouldn’t dither on, at the end of the day, with an insubstantial argument such as pricing for my child’s safety.