Posted by: Tamela Adamson-McMullen
Reports that hundreds of children over the last two decades have died or been injured by corded window coverings have brought together three international health groups to press for comprehensive safety standards.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Health Canada and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers are urging window coverings manufacturers and standards organizations to establish uniform, cost-effective manufacturing processes that put the safety of children first. The international, multilateral call for action is the first time three safety agencies, representing consumers in 29 countries, have joined together to demand worldwide safety standards on a specific product.
Corded window coverings have been known to cause strangulation deaths and injuries in children worldwide. In the United States alone, CPSC is aware of 120 fatalities and 113 non-fatal incidents caused by the products since 1999.
Canadian and European health officials site similar reports. Since 1986, Health Canada has received reports of 28 strangulation deaths and 23 near-deaths linked to corded window coverings. In Europe, 90 children reportedly have suffered injuries from corded window coverings since 2002, and at least six children have died since 2008.
In recent months, CPSC has stepped up its efforts to prevent strangulations and injuries caused by the products. The health commission since December has recalled tens of millions of corded Roman shades and roll-up blinds sold by various manufacturers and retailers.
CPSC continues to urge parents and caregivers to make sure that there are no accessible cords on the front, side or back of their window coverings. Officials also recommend the use of cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit.