Programme 2 Dec Window blind cords press event-AC

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					                  EUROPEAN COMMISSION

                  Consumer Affairs
                  Product and service safety

     Cords and Chains in window coverings - a Hidden Home Hazard
                           Information event

                                          2 December 2010
                                            12:45 – 13:30

                          Foyer outside room 0D, ground floor
                          Albert Borschette Conference Center
                                    36, rue Froissart
                                     1040 Brussels


12:45             Introduction by Stefano Soro, Head of Product & Service Safety Unit,
                  European Commission

12:50             Statements by:
                  Richard W. O'Brien, Director, Office of International Programs and
                  Intergovernmental Affairs, US Consumer Product Safety Commission

                  Robert Ianiro, Director, Consumer Product Safety Bureau Product Safety
                  Directorate, Health Canada

                  Ruth McKay, General Manager, Australian Consumer and Competition

13:05             Statement by Elena Santiago Cid, Director General, European
                  Committee for Standardization(CEN) and the European Electrotechnical
                  Committee for Standardization (CENELEC)

13:10             Presentation by Steve Birtles, British Blinds & Shutters Association
                  (BBSA) on the ongoing revision of the European safety standard for

13:15             Statement by Tom Bourke, National Consumer Agency, Ireland on
                  education of economic operators and development of a code of practice

13:20             Statement from the European association for the representation of
                  consumers in standardisation (ANEC) on consumers' expectations

                  Exhibition of samples of products and distribution of printed material
                  The National Consumer Agency (Ireland)
                  The British Blind & Shutter Association (UK)
                  ANEC, ECSA, CEN, economic operators

                  Mr Stefano Soro will reply to questions from journalists

Commission européenne, B-1049 Bruxelles / Europese Commissie, B-1049 Brussel - Belgium. Telephone: (32-2) 299 11 11.
                  EUROPEAN COMMISSION

                  Consumer Affairs
                  Product and service safety


The information event on 2/12/2010 will provide an overview on:

 hazards posed by cords and chains in window coverings;
 ongoing international cooperation to improve the safety of window coverings;
 ongoing work to set up stronger safety requirements and ensure safety form factory
  to shelf and home installation;
 safer products and practical advice on what can be done to improve the safety of
  existing products at home.

Why cords and chains in window coverings are dangerous?

Children can strangle in the cords/chains of window
Children can become entangled in hanging cords when
playing, climbing or just exploring. If they fall or
topple off a chair, they could hang themselves with
the loop. If the blind is placed close to a sofa, or cot,
or bed, or other item of furniture, the child can gain
easy access to the cords and become entangled in

These incidents happen quickly and silently. In 2002,
90 children visited the emergency departments in
seven EU Member States for injuries caused by
window blinds or drapery cords. More recently, 9
children in the EU, aged between 15 and 36 months,
strangled in the cords of a window coverings between
2008 and 2010. In the UK, it is estimated that at least
two children die every year, strangled in the cords of
a window covering.

These types of tragedies unfortunately have also
happened around the world. In the US, 119 children
have died in a corded window coverings accident since
1999. In Canada, 28 fatalities were linked to the same
products. In Australia at least 10 children have
accidentally been strangled in the cord of a window
covering since 2000.

Pictures: Courtesy US CPSC

Commission européenne, B-1049 Bruxelles / Europese Commissie, B-1049 Brussel - Belgium. Telephone: (32-2) 299 11 11.
What is being done in the EU to improve the safety of window coverings?

The European Commission and the Member States' authorities are working together
with consumers' stakeholders and standardisation experts towards setting stronger
safety requirements for blinds and other window coverings. These requirements are to
be adopted before the end of this year. Also, the relevant European standard for
internal blinds is being revised.

EU Commission Health and Consumers Directorate General (DG SANCO) has joined
forces with consumers' product safety authorities in the US and Canada (CPSC and
Health Canada). Together, the three jurisdictions have called for a swift and
comprehensive process that will lead to the elimination of the risks of deaths and
injuries from all types of corded window covering products. More recently, contacts
have been made with the Australian authorities (ACCC) to work together on this issue
of common concern.

What can consumers do?

Fatalities due to cords in window coverings can be
prevented. New models of blinds and new safety
features, engineered to significantly reduce or
eliminate the risks of strangulation, are becoming
available on the market. At the same time, consumers
can take a number of practical, simple precautions to
make the blinds installed in their homes safer. In
Ireland and in the UK, information and education
campaigns are already in place to raise consumers'

Pictures: Courtesy ACCC Australia

For more information: