New Canadian Regulations on Window Covering Cords Coming into Effect
November 19th 2019
The Canadian government is taking steps to protect children from potential strangulation via window covering cords
Health Canada is taking a strong stand on the length of cords and the size of loops found on window coverings sold in Canada. The new regulations are an effort to protect children from strangling themselves on cords dangling from window blinds.
According to Health Canada, the regulations will come into effect on May 1, 2021 and apply to all products sold in Canada — both custom-made and off the shelf.
The extended timeframe until implementation is to give manufacturers, importers, and retailers like West Coast Shutters time to adjust to the new requirements.
“The fact remains that cords kill kids,” Canadian Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in a press release. “The changes announced ... will better protect Canadians, particularly children, from injury or death from corded window coverings.”
In the meantime, Health Canada strongly encourages parents and caregivers to replace existing corded window coverings with cordless options.
If you are unable to immediately replace your corded window coverings, Health Canada says to make sure to always keep cords up high and out of the reach of children.
“The safest window coverings are ones that have no cords that you can see or touch,” the news release reads.
According to Health Canada, it takes just over 22 centimetres (8.5 inches) of cord to strangle a child, 15 seconds for a child to become unconscious, four minutes for brain damage to occur and less than six minutes for death to occur.
“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,” says Dr. Catherine Farrell from the Canadian Pediatric Society.
Since 1989, Health Canada says it has been informed of 39 deaths related to the strangulation hazard posed by corded window coverings.
And, between 1998 and March 2019, Health Canada says 39 recalls were issued relating to the hazard.
The United States implemented the same regulations in 2018 after the Consumer Product Safety Commission found there had been 50 deaths reported between 2012 and 2017 linked to window-cord strangulation among infants and young children.
Tips to Protect Your Child
- Use cordless or cords that are inaccessible to your young children.
- Examine all blinds and shades for cords that are accessible on the front, side, and back.
- Regularly check that cords are safely out of reach of young children.
- Do not place cribs, beds, and other furniture close to windows where kids can climb and get access to window covering cords.
- Install a tension device to keep continuous loop bead chains or nylon cords taught.