Health Canada

Health Canada

August 09, 2007 14:49 ET

Advisory: Health Canada Once Again Advises Canadians to Protect Young Children from the Strangulation Hazard Associated with Cords on Curtains and Window Blinds

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 9, 2007) - The recent strangulation death of a Quebec infant attributed to a corded window covering has prompted Health Canada to again advise the Canadian public to protect young children from the strangulation hazard of cords on blinds, curtains and other window coverings.

Blind and curtain pull-cords and bead-chains must be kept out of the reach of young children because they pose a dangerous strangulation hazard.

Hazards associated with corded window coverings products can be mitigated by the following:

- Many older horizontal blinds, shades, and curtains have pull-cords that form dangerous continuous loops. These loops should be cut to form two separate cords, or secured to the wall or floor with a tension device.

- When the blind, shade or curtain is fully down or fully closed, all loose pull-cords should be cut as short as possible. The cords must then be secured out of the reach of children by wrapping them around a cleat or hook secured high on the wall, or by holding the wrapped cord up high with a big twist tie or clip.

- Tension devices should be used with window coverings with looped bead-chains. These devices safely secure the bead-chain flush to the wall, making it inaccessible to children.

- Dangerous loops can also be formed by the inner-cords of blinds, which run vertically through the slats. Inexpensive safety devices, called cord stops, are available to stop these loops from forming.

- Inner cord stops and tension devices are available from some department, hardware, and window covering stores to retrofit older window covering products

- When fabricating home-made window coverings, make sure there are no looped cords or bead-chains not secured with a tension device, and that all pull-cords are kept high and out of the reach of children.

- The most critical safety measure is to always keep pull-cords and bead-chains high and out of the reach of children, or secured with a tension device.

The location of furniture in the home also has an impact on the safety of corded window covering products. Children have strangled when window covering cords have dangled into their cribs, playpens, and beds. These items should never be placed near windows or patio doors fitted with corded window coverings. Additionally, sofas, chairs, tables and other furniture should never be placed near windows fitted with corded window coverings, as children can climb onto or jump from the furniture and reach the cords.

These safety precautions must be taken in the homes of friends and family members where a child is visiting. Children have died when they have been strangled by blind or curtain cords during visits.

To assist in minimizing the hazards associated with these products, Health Canada has produced a demonstration video which depicts the actions people may take to keep the cords out of the reach of young children. Also available is a static window cling that will serve as a reminder that window covering cords must not be left dangling. The window cling is to be placed on windows fitted with corded window coverings. The video may be viewed, and the window clings ordered from, Health Canada's Blinds and Window Cords Web page at http://www.healthcanada.gc.ca/blindcords.

Free safety kits containing inner-cord stops, tassels, tension devices and a safety brochure with instructions are available from the Window Covering Safety Council, by calling 1-800-506-4636 or visiting their Website at http://www.windowcoverings.org

For additional safety information on window blind and curtain cords, please visit Health Canada's Blinds and Window Cords Web page: http://www.healthcanada.gc.ca/blindcords. E-mail inquiries may be sent to: cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca (please indicate the province or territory from which you are corresponding).

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Contact Information

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