DENVER (KDVR) — Daniel Sutton was born Oct. 25, 2006, to David and Andrea Sutton.
“Daniel was just the sweetest kid. He was just full of energy,” Andrea said.
Daniel was just 3 years old when he died inside his Firestone home. His sister was the first to see him tangled in the cords to the window blinds after a nap.
“She told me that Daniel was sleeping standing up. So I went upstairs to check on him, and that’s when I saw that the cords were wrapped around his neck,” Andrea said.
The family was heartbroken and wondered how this could happen. They say they received a settlement from the window blind company and then pushed to raise awareness.
“We didn’t know that was a thing,” Andrea said.
New rules for window blinds challenged by industry
In 2018, a new federal safety standard went into effect. It requires all stock window coverings that are prepackaged and sold in stores to be cordless or have inaccessible or short cords.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission approved new federal safety standards in November that would include custom blinds, but those are now being challenged in court by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association.
In a news release, the association said in part:
“WCMA filed a lawsuit on November 30, 2022, challenging the CPSC rule because the rule does not substantively advance child safety and ignores the fact that safety incidents have steadily declined since the voluntary standard has been in effect. The CPSC also failed to account for the significant cost increase to consumers, the enormous harm that the rule will cause to small businesses and the large commercial market for custom window coverings, despite the fact that there is no data to suggest those products pose a risk. WCMA filed the stay motion because, among other reasons, the CPSC had adopted a six-month effective date for the rule, which would have eliminated the availability of proven safe products before the industry could develop new products and would delay consumer transition to available safer products. The CPSC staff briefing acknowledged the industry will need at least two years to develop completely new products. “Window Covering Manufacturers Association
In January, a federal appeals court granted the motion by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association to stay the new rule pending a judicial review. Attorneys say the legal process could take months to play out.
In the meantime, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association did agree to some updated voluntary changes that it says will require 95% of window coverings sold in the U.S. to be cordless or have inaccessible or short cords.
Some window-covering sellers already acting
Some sellers are already taking action.
Jessica Work, the CEO of Blinds Couture in Westminster, has already stopped selling any corded products.
“We want to be a company known for how we educate our clients on the front end, and just following the safety standards that are in the pipeline, and being ahead of it a bit,” Work said.
She sells lots of cordless options, and many automated options as well. Right now, she said, these options do cost more. But she is hopeful that will change with time.
The Suttons made changes to the blinds in their new home, and they hope others will do the same, no matter what the regulations are.
“Anyone can go cord-free,” Andrea said.