From 23-30 June 2016, an OECD global awareness campaign was carried out on window covering cord safety. The initiative aimed at informing consumers about persistent, hidden and severe dangers associated with corded window coverings and encouraging preventative action in homes, including vacation homes or holiday dwellings where young children live or visit.
Unsafe window covering cords and children, particularly those under 3 years, can become a deadly mix. Consequences of entanglement in unsafe window covering cords can be:
- Strangulation by obstruction of airway
- Neurological damage from oxygen deprivation
- Unconsciousness within 15 seconds
- Death in two to three minutes.
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Safety messages for parents and caregivers
- Unsafe window covering cords and children, particularly those under 3 years, can be a deadly combination.
- Children can strangle when they become entangled in the cord loop at their neck.
- Incidents have involved children up to 9 years of age but most often have occurred to children under the age of 3.
- Strangulation deaths and injuries can occur anywhere in a house where an unsafe corded window covering is installed.
- Strangulation has occurred most often in children’s bedrooms and in living rooms, areas generally perceived by care givers as safe.
- Strangulation happens quickly and silently.
- Child safe window blinds and shades are available for sale today.
Safe use tips
- Examine all shades and blinds for accessible cords on the front, side and back.
- Do not place cribs, beds and furniture close to the windows because children can climb on them and gain access to window covering cords. This is recommended both at home and when visiting.
- Use cordless or inaccessible cord window coverings in homes with young children or window coverings fitted with safety devices to keep cords out of reach of young children.
- Check regularly that cords are out of reach of young children and cannot form hazardous loops. Tie the cords up or use one of the many safety devices such as cleats, cord tidies, clips or ties that are readily available.
Note: Check with your local or national consumer product safety authority for further information.
The campaign proved to be successful through the active participation of the following 24 jurisdictions: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus,2 the European Union, Finland, France, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The event was co-ordinated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): United States Consumer Product Safety Commission website.