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New curtain regulations meant to prevent strangulation become law

New Health Canada regulations for corded window coverings will require manufacturers attach stop mechanisms meant to prevent the accidental strangulation of children.

New Health Canada regulations for corded window coverings will require manufacturers attach stop mechanisms meant to prevent the accidental strangulation of children.

The new regulations will apply to any interior window coverings that use a bead chain, cord or looped device in its operations that could pose a strangulation hazard.

The regulations, published in the Canada Gazette on Wednesday, will allow Health Canada to enforce the need for safety mechanisms under the Hazardous Products Act.

Several blind retailers were already conforming to the regulations voluntarily before they became law on Wednesday, Health Canada said.

Window blinds that use a looped mechanism to open or close their coverings will now be required to be fitted with devices that cause the pull cords to separate on the application of force or to be held taut and secured to an adjacent surface. A cord-stop mechanism is also required on the inner loops.

Health Canada has received 28 reports of strangulation deaths related to window coverings that use looped-pull mechanism since 1986.

According to Health Canada, strangulation incidents typically occur when infants or young children become entangled in the cords and their body weight caused the mechanism to act like a noose.

Window coverings already installed in homes are not required to meet the new regulations. However, selling the blinds that do not conform to the new regulations or giving them away, is now illegal.