Government of Canada: New Regulation to Prevent Child Strangulation

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To help stop child strangulation deaths linked to corded window coverings, the Government of Canada has implemented new regulations restricting the length of cords and the size of loops on window coverings sold in Canada.  These new regulations will come into effect on May 1, 2021, allowing manufacturers, importers and retailers time to adjust to the new requirements and will apply to all products sold in Canada, both custom-made and off the shelf.

"The fact remains that cords kill kids.  The changes announced today will better protect …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," says Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the Minister of Health.

A strangulation incident occurs when a child becomes entangled in the cords of the window covering.  If  the child loses his/her footing and falls, the weight of the body causes the cord to act like a noose, resulting in strangulation.

It takes about 22 centimetres (8-1/2”) 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 6 minutes.

Health Canada

Since 1989, 39 children have died in Canada by strangulation caused by corded window coverings.

In the United States, it is estimated that about 300 children died and 17,000 were hurt by window blinds between 1990 and 2015.

There were 39 recalls in Canada related to strangulation hazards associated with corded window coverings since 1998.

For the past 30 years, Health Canada has addressed this strangulation risk through a number of proactive measures including warning labels on products, education campaigns and public outreach strategies but to no avail.

"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 Paediatric Society.

Implemented by the Canadian government, this new window safety regulation will protect children from strangulation more than any other country.

To ensure your children’s safety and the children of your family and friends, replace existing corded window coverings with cordless options, especially in rooms or areas where children gather to play.

If you cannot replace your window blind and curtain cords, please click on Window Blind and Curtain Cord Safety, a highly detailed article with safety instructions for a variety of window coverings and blinds.

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