Government of Canada proposes new regulations to help eliminate risk of strangulation from corded window coverings

News Release

Proposed regulations would prohibit the sale of corded window coverings that pose a risk of strangulation to children

June 16, 2017 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

It takes only 15 seconds for a child to become unconscious from being strangled by a window blind cord. Strangulation is often silent. Since the 1980s, Health Canada has received numerous incident reports related to corded window coverings, and the fatalities continue to occur at an average rate of slightly more than one child per year in Canada.

To help eliminate this hazard, the Department is proposing changes to the Corded Window Covering Products Regulations, which would restrict the length of accessible cords and the size of loops that can be created. A warning would also be required on the product that states that the product should be disposed of if a long cord or large loop is ever exposed. The proposed regulations, published in Canada Gazette, Part I, are now available for comment during the 75-day consultation period.

The Government of Canada encourages Canadians to review the proposed new Regulations and to submit feedback to Health Canada by August 31, 2017.

Health Canada reminds Canadians that the safest window coverings are ones that have no cords that you can see or touch. Parents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to replace corded window coverings with cordless options that are now available on the market, starting with children’s rooms and places where children play. If you cannot make an immediate switch, make sure to always keep cords up high and out of the reach of children and to follow Health Canada’s window covering safety tips.

Quick Facts

  • Injuries and fatalities due to corded window coverings have occurred even when children are being supervised.
  • A child who is tangled in corded window coverings can be unconsciousness within 15 seconds, and brain damage begins to occur after about four minutes without oxygen. Death can occur in less than six minutes.
  • From 1986 to June 2016, Health Canada received 69 reports concerning the strangulation hazard posed by corded window coverings. Of the 69 reports, 40 reported a fatality (35 in Canada; 5 internationally), 22 reported an injury and 7 reported no injury.
  • Between 1998 and 2016, there were 36 voluntary recalls of corded window covering products in Canada.

Quotes

“Corded blinds pose a very real danger to children, but it is a preventable risk. I am pleased to be introducing these proposed changes to our Corded Window Covering Products Regulations, which will better protect this vulnerable population.”

Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

“Nearly all strangulation deaths and injuries are preventable. The Canadian Paediatric Society is pleased to support Health Canada in its commitment to change the Corded Window Covering Products Regulations to help eliminate this risk to children.”

Dr. Richard Stanwick
Injury Prevention Specialist, Past President, Canadian Paediatric Society

“As an organization committed to educating consumers and supporting families affected by corded window coverings with failed safety devices, we are pleased that Health Canada is taking the lead in safety to ensure all products and devices will be manufactured to protect Canadian children in environments where they live and visit.”

Candace Allard
Parents for Window Blind Safety, Canada

Associated Links

Contacts

Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866 225-0709

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media



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