Government of Canada implements new regulations to help stop strangulation deaths linked to corded window coverings
Regulations go further than those of any other country in addressing the risk of strangulation to children
May 1, 2019 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to providing consumer products that are safe, and to protecting children from harm. Over the last three decades, Health Canada—a world leader in consumer product safety— has worked to reduce the risks posed by corded window coverings. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the number of children dying from this preventable risk has remained too high at an average of one Canadian child per year.
To help eliminate this hazard, today, Health Canada has published the new Corded Window Coverings Regulations to restrict the length of cords and the size of loops allowed on window coverings sold in Canada, to avoid the possibility of their getting wrapped around a child's neck. The new regulations go further to protect children from this hazard than those of any other country. The requirements for window coverings will apply to all products sold in Canada, both custom-made and off the shelf.
The new regulations will come into force on May 1, 2021 to give manufacturers, importers, and retailers time to adjust to the new requirements. In the meantime, parents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to replace existing 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. The safest window coverings are ones that have no cords that you can see or touch.
“The fact remains that cords kill kids. The changes announced today will better protect Canadians, particularly children, from injury or death from corded window coverings. This is another example of the Government of Canada prioritizing the health and safety of Canadians as we continue to prevent dangers that are posed by consumer products in Canada and ensure all consumer products sold in this country meet stringent safety requirements.”
Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
“Injury and death from strangulation can happen quickly, even when children are supervised. Every preventable death of a child is a tragedy, and the Canadian Paediatric Society applauds the steps Health Canada is taking to protect children with these new regulations.”
Dr. Catherine Farrell, Canadian Pediatric Society
“While Canada set out regulations in 2009 to improve safety of corded window coverings, unfortunately in the past 10 years, an average of one child per year has died after being strangled in these cords,” says Pamela Fuselli, interim CEO of Parachute, Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention. “These new Corded Window Coverings regulations will help to eliminate this hazard, prevent injuries, and keep children safe in their homes.”
Pamela Fuselli, Parachute Canada
"We applaud Health Canada for taking the strongest stand in safety in order to ensure our country’s children are protected. The stringent regulations still allows for products to pass our safety testing program so manufacturers can be awarded our Lab Tested, Mom Approved® seal of approval."
Parents For Window Blind Safety
It takes just over 22 centimetres of cord to strangle a child, 15 seconds for a child to become unconscious, and 4 minutes for brain damage to occur. Death can occur in less than six minutes.
Health Canada is aware of 39 deaths in Canada concerning the strangulation hazard posed by corded window coverings since 1989.
Between 1998 and March 2019, there were 39 recalls in Canada related to strangulation hazards associated with corded window coverings.
Over the past 30 years, the department has worked to address this risk through a number of actions, including: requesting warning labels on products, implementing various consumer education campaigns and public outreach strategies, issuing product recalls, advisories and consumer alerts, collaborating with other regulatory bodies on safety initiatives, engaging with industry stakeholders, and conducting market surveys.
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
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