Blind and window covering safety

Young girl looking out window

Did you know that ordinary household items like blinds and window coverings with long accessible cords could seriously harm a child? Cords and kids don't mix. An average of one child dies every year from strangulation by a blind or window covering cord. One death per year involving a home décor product is one too many.

The good news is you can keep your child safe by removing blinds and window coverings with long accessible cords – those capable of wrapping around a child's neck.

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Health risks

In Canada, there have been many reports of strangulation deaths and near-fatal incidents caused by blinds and window coverings with long accessible cords. Children between 1 – 3 years old are most at risk. Strangulation can occur when children:

  • place their heads through a cord loop;
  • wrap a single long cord around their neck; or
  • pull inner cords out of the blind or window covering and put their heads through the loop.

With cords on blinds and window coverings, it only takes:

  • A 22 cm length of cord to wrap around a child's neck, or a loop of 44 cm to pass over a child's head to strangle a child;
  • 15 seconds to unconsciousness;
  • 4 minutes for brain damage;
  • 6 minutes for death to occur.

Strangulation happens quickly and quietly. It can happen even when caregivers are nearby.

Reduce your risk

Replace blinds and window coverings that have long accessible cords

Any type of long accessible cord, such as cords on the side, inside or back of the blind or window covering, is a strangulation risk for a child. The safest blinds and window coverings are ones without long accessible cords. Removing blinds and window coverings with long accessible cords, starting first with children's rooms and play spaces, is the best way to keep your child safe.

Many affordable and easy-to-use blinds and window coverings, with no long accessible cords, are available for all sizes of windows at home and hardware stores across Canada.

Safety tips for long accessible cords on blinds and window coverings

If you can't replace your blinds and window coverings that have long accessible cords, you can still take steps to reduce the risk. Until you can replace them, make sure to:

  • Always keep cords out of the reach of children.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and read all warnings.
  • Never place cribs, beds, and playpens near a window where a child could reach a cord.
  • Do not place furniture that a child can climb near a window.
  • Securely attach tension devices supplied with blinds and window coverings to the wall so children can't place the cord around their neck.
  • Install a cleat or tie-down device up high on the wall and use it to keep cords out of reach.

Never tie knots in cords. Immediately untie any knots that form accidentally. Remove any devices that form dangling loops, whether at the bottom, middle, or top of the cords.

Did you know...

  • Health Canada's Corded Window Coverings Regulations protect children from strangulation. Canada's requirements for blinds and window coverings are the strictest in the world, and apply to all products sold in Canada, both custom-made and off the shelf.
  • Blinds and window coverings with long accessible cords can become a greater risk if incorrectly installed. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing and using blinds and window coverings.
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