Health Canada warns of window blind dangers

Health Canada is reminding people to be careful about using Roman shades and roll-up blinds due to the possible strangulation hazard they pose to children.

This undated handout photo provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows Roman Shades. The government and the window covering industry on recalled more than 50 million Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds because of the risk children may be strangled by the cords.

OTTAWA — Health Canada is reminding people to be careful about using Roman shades and roll-up blinds due to the possible strangulation hazard they pose to children.

The agency’s warning today follows the recall of more than 50 million shades and blinds in the United States.

Canadians obtain a free retrofit kit for Roman-style fabric looped and flat panel shades and roll-up blinds at www.windowcoverings.org or by calling 1-800-506-4636.

Many shades and blinds have cords at the back that allow space for a child’s head and neck to get through, which could cause strangulation with the cord if the child falls or becomes trapped.

Health Canada says people who live in homes where children live or visit should consider replacing Roman shades and roll-up blinds with window coverings that do not have exposed inner cords.

Health Canada has previously issued warnings about similar hazards posed by inner cord loops on horizontal blinds.

Parents are urged to examine all shades and blinds in the home and make sure they have no accessible cords. They also should not place cribs, beds or other furniture close to windows because children can climb on the furniture and reach the cords.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said five deaths and 16 near-strangulations from Roman shades have been reported since 2006, while three deaths connected to roll-up blinds have been reported since 2001.

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