CPSC Announces International Initiative for Strong Safety Standards on Window Coverings

A coordinated effort by the three safety agencies and standards organizations in the U.S., Canada and Europe could lead to cost-effective product development and testing and manufacturing processes in the global economy while putting the safety of childre
June 17, 2010
Release Number: 10-265

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Health Canada and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) have joined together to call for strong and comprehensive international safety standards on window coverings from manufacturers and standards organizations.

This international, multi-lateral call for immediate action (pdf) is the first time the three safety agencies, representing consumers in 29 countries, have joined together to demand strong worldwide safety standards on a specific product.

A coordinated effort by the three safety agencies and standards organizations in the U.S., Canada and Europe could lead to cost-effective product development and testing and manufacturing processes in the global economy while putting the safety of children first.

Corded window coverings cause strangulation deaths and significant injuries in children worldwide. In the United States, CPSC staff is aware of 120 fatalities and 113 non-fatal incidents related to corded window coverings since 1999. Health Canada has received reports 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.

Since December 2009, CPSC has recalled tens of millions of corded Roman shades and roll-up blinds sold by a variety of manufacturers and retailers. These window coverings pose a serious risk of strangulation to young children. 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.

CPSC recommends the use of cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit.