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Health Canada releases new regulations for corded window coverings

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

Health Canada published new regulations on Wednesday for corded window coverings in an effort to protect children from strangulation.

The new regulations restrict the length of the cords and the size of the loops found on window coverings sold in Canada.

According to a news release issued by Health Canada, the new regulations apply to all products sold in Canada, both custom made and off the shelf.

The regulations will come into effect on May 1, 2021, in order to give manufacturers, importers and retailers time to adjust to the new requirements.

“The fact remains that cords kill kids,” Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in the release. “The changes announced today will better protect Canadians, particularly children, from injury or death from corded window coverings.”

READ MORE: Blinds can pose strangulation risk for kids — here’s what parents should know

In the meantime, Health Canada strongly encourages parents and caregivers to replace existing corded window coverings with cordless options.

If you are unable to switch immediately, 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 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,” Dr. Catherine Farrell from the Canadian Pediatric Society said in the release.

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.

More window covering safety tips can be found on Health Canada’s website.

By Hannah Jackson

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