Date Published: 16 April 2009

Increases Child Safety with New Regulations for Corded Window Coverings

Health News from Canada
Health News from Canada.

The Government of Canada announced yesterday new safety regulations for corded window coverings that will make these products safer for young children. The regulations came into effect following yesterday's publication in Canada Gazette, Part II.

"A corded window covering" is defined as an interior window covering that incorporates a bead chain, cord or any type of flexible looped device in its operation.

The new regulations are designed to reduce the strangulation hazard posed by such coverings by limiting the use of flexible cord and bead chain loops. Although some industry members already voluntarily adhere to these standards, the new regulations will allow for enforcement by Health Canada under the Hazardous Products Act.

Since 1986, Health Canada has received 28 reports of strangulation deaths and 22 near-fatal incidents linked to these products.

"This Government continues to put in place important and enforceable measures to help prevent injuries to young children," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "This initiative is in keeping with Canada's Consumer Action Plan, which is making Canadians safer through tougher federal regulations on food, health and consumer products."

Typically, strangulation incidents occur when infants or young children, in cribs or beds situated near windows, become entangled in the cords of the window covering. Young children may lose their footing and get wrapped in the cords while trying to look out a window or when climbing on furniture. When the child falls, the weight of the body causes the cord to act like a noose, resulting in strangulation.

Under the new regulations, window covering products that are advertised, sold or imported into Canada will be required to meet the specifications of the National Standard of Canada CAN/CSA-Z600, Safety of Corded Widow Covering Products, published by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Health Canada assisted the CSA in developing this standard.

The new regulations allow flexible loops on pull cords only if the loops are fitted with devices that either separate the loop upon the application of force, or allow the loop to be held taut once the device is secured to an adjacent surface. Cord-stop mechanisms are required to restrict inner cord loops. Safety labelling and instructions are also required, since consumers play an important part in mitigating the strangulation hazard.

Many corded window coverings currently installed in homes do not meet the new regulations or the previous voluntary standards and will not be subject to the new regulations. Health Canada reminds parents and caregivers that blind and curtain pull-cords and bead-chains must always be kept out of the reach of young children, secured taut with a tension device or cut short, as they pose a strangulation hazard.

Health Canada also reminds Canadians that window coverings found at garage sales and second-hand stores may not be compliant with the new regulations. Under the Hazardous Products Act, corded window coverings that do not meet the new regulations are illegal for sale as second-hand items and may not be given away.

Source(s): Health Canada

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