Health Canada

Health Canada

December 15, 2009 14:46 ET

Health Canada Advises Canadians of Strangulation Hazard Roman Shades and Roll-up Blinds May Pose to Children

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 15, 2009) - In light of today's joint announcement by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) to issue a voluntary recall to repair all Roman shades and roll-up blinds, Health Canada, as part of its ongoing commitment to protecting children, would like to remind consumers of the possible strangulation hazard presented by these products.

The US CPSC and WCSC are proposing a corrective action plan that would prevent the potential strangulation hazard to young children. Canadians may obtain a free retrofit kit for Roman style fabric looped and flat panel shades and roll up blinds online from the WCSC at www.windowcoverings.org or by calling the toll-free phone line at 1-800-506-4636.

Roman Shades

The inner cords at the back of some roman shades pose a strangulation hazard because:

- The cords pass through rings or slots that are spaced widely apart, typically about 20 cm (8 inches). This allows space for a child to insert his/her head and neck between the length of cord and the fabric of the shade.

- The Roman shade does not have a cord-locking mechanism in the headrail, or inner cord stops on the operating cords (pull cords), to limit the inner cords from being pulled out to form a loop.

- The fabric and bottom rail of the shade are lightweight enough that they rise as the inner cord is pulled, allowing more inner cord to be pulled out.

Roll-Up Blinds

A roll-up blind consists of a panel of flexible material that is rolled up and suspended by two cord loops, called lifting loops. These lifting loops, also known as inner cords, are attached to the operating cords. When the operating cords are pulled to raise the blind, the lifting loops rise, rolling up the flexible material from the bottom of the blind.

The lifting loops of roll-up blinds pose a strangulation hazard because:

- The lifting loops can slide off the sides of the roll-up blind, most easily when the blind is fully lowered and there is no weight on the lifting loops.

- A child can also place his/her neck between a lifting loop and the roll up material. The risk of strangulation depends on the tension in the lifting loop cord, created by the weight of the roll of flexible material.

In homes where children live or where children visit, consider replacing roman shades and roll-up blinds with window coverings that do not have exposed inner cords.

Operating cords on many types of corded window coverings, including roman shades and roll-up blinds, also pose a strangulation hazard, as do inner cord loops of horizontal blinds. Health Canada has previously issued warnings about these hazards. These warnings can be accessed by calling 1-866-662-0666, or by visiting the Health Canada Web site. (www.healthcanada.gc.ca/blindcords)

Illustrations are available at the following address: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/HAZARD-ENG.pdf

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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    613-957-2983
    or
    Public Inquiries:
    613-957-2991
    1-866-225-0709