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CPSC, Canada and the EU Want New Safety Standards for Corded Window Covers

The CPSC is attempting to take a proactive approach to the on-going threats that corded window coverings pose to young children. On June 17, the Commission announced that they will act in cooperation with Health Canada and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers to address this problem.

According to the CPSC, this is the first time that the three agencies have joined together to attempt to set world-wide safety standards on a specific product. The agencies will ask for "strong and comprehensive international safety standards on window coverings from manufacturers and standards organizations."

The CPSC has recalled millions of corded window coverings since December 2009. The last recall reported on this blog came just one week ago and covered Roman and roller shades, as well as roll-up blinds, sold at Ikea stores throughout the United States. The recalls have been made in response to reports of strangulation and near strangulation of children becoming entangled in the cords. In the U.S., there have been 120 reported fatalities and 113 non-fatal incidents related to corded window coverings since 1999.

The same problems have plagued consumers in Canada and Europe. The CPSC reports that Health Canada has received notice of 28 strangulation deaths and 23 near-strangulations linked to corded window coverings since 1986. In seven Member States of Europe, 90 children were reported to have visited hospital emergency departments for injuries caused by corded window coverings in 2002. More recently, at least six children in Europe have died from corded window coverings since 2008.

The Commission now recommends that parents and caregivers use cordless window coverings in homes where children live or visit.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, consumers may call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054. Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

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