Health Canada Pushes For The Strongest Corded Window Covering Safety Standard Worldwide For Kids

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The current Canadian law allows lethal outer pull and tilt cords that pose safety risks to children. New proposed regulations could eliminate future injuries and deaths on corded window covering products.

Cord hazards can be overlooked and in plain sight. #GoCordless

Some of the proposed requirements will limit the length of cords that are reachable by any person

Parents for Window Blind Safety applauds Health Canada for their move forward on the possibility of creating the strongest safety standard worldwide for window covering products.    

Near the end of October 2016, the Minister of Health announced that Health Canada was developing new regulations Minister of Health Announces Proposed Regulation for corded window covering products to prohibit products that pose a strangulation risk to children. In a recent mailing to stakeholders, Health Canada explained the amendments that would be proposed to window covering products sold in Canada.

“Some of the proposed requirements will limit the length of cords that are reachable by any person, so that:

The reachable portion of a cord with one free end must not measure more than 22 cm in length when it is pulled with a 45 N force in any direction

The reachable portion of a cord with no free end must not measure more than 22 cm in length between two consecutive contact points with the product, when it is pulled with a 45 N force in any direction

When the reachable portion of a cord is pulled in any direction with a 45 N force, any loop that is created or enlarged must not measure more than 44 cm in perimeter

These restrictions will also apply to any reachable cords that can be tied together.”

A public comment period will open by spring of 2017 projecting the new proposed requirements for corded window coverings to come into force by 2018.

Efforts to align safety standards across jurisdictions of Canada and the United States failed to protect children from strangling on compliant products. As consumers in the United States wait for window covering products to be regulated, other countries are taking action to eliminate future accidents. Canada has a comparable rate of fatality for children on window covering cords as the United States. The USA injury and fatality data is considered gold standard by Health Canada due to the comprehensive investigations performed by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Last year 12 children were killed by lethal cords on window covering products in the United States. In December a four-year-old girl from Texas strangled on a product purchased in 2015 which required a tension device that would partially disable the product if not installed properly. Two other incidents involved children who were found in U-shape loops leading to cords wrapped in safety cleats. Children gain access to lethal cords by climbing onto windowsills and reaching cords tied up high, using furniture, creating loops within non-compliant products, creating u-shaped loops out of secure cords with their body weight and pulling on shortened cords which maximizes the cord length long enough to be wrapped around their neck.

Consumers should look for safe products that have no outer pull cords and tight inner cords that cannot form loops large enough to place a child’s head through. Products that use wands or motors to lift and lower are recommended in all environments where children live and visit.

For a list of products tested for child safety http://www.windowcoveringtesting.org

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Parents for Window Blind Safety is a non-profit organization that protects children from unsafe play environments that contains lethal window covering cords, educates consumers on exposed window covering cord dangers, assists in creating safer standards in the industry to prevent injuries to children, encourages innovation of safer products, and tests window covering products for safety.

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Linda Kaiser
@Parents_4Safety
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