Te Whanganui-a-Tara – The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is seeking feedback on ways to address safety concerns associated with corded window coverings, such as roller blinds, concertina blinds, Roman blinds and slatted blinds such as Venetian blinds.
Since 2009, six young children in New Zealand have died due to cords in window coverings, three of which have occurred in the past 10 years.
Loose cords on window coverings are dangerous for young children, because they can get entangled and strangled by the operating cords or inner cords.
They have been recognised as a safety risk in Australia, United States of America, Canada, and Europe and have become regulated in the last 15 years.
There are currently no regulations or mandatory standards requiring safety specifications from suppliers or installers in New Zealand, acting manager for consumer policy Sally Whinersay says.
“While we have taken a number of steps to address safety issues with these products, including engaging with retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and community organisations, as well as consumer promotions, we know this consultation is a vital step to make sure we capture all possible options to mitigate the risks.
“MBIE is seeking feedback on the nature and scale of the problem, the options, benefits, costs and other impacts of the options, and implementation.
“Feedback will be used to inform MBIE’s policy development process and advice to Ministers on addressing risks from corded window coverings.”
Consultation opens today and closes March 5. See: www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/options-to-address-safety-risks-of-corded-window-coverings
The consultation document asks people for feedback on a range of potential options, including:
• Option 1: further information and education to encourage safe consumer behaviour, such as communication programmes and social media campaigns only.
• Option 2: government assistance to households to remediate existing hazardous corded window coverings.
• Option 3: voluntary modification measures by businesses to reduce risks, such as selling safety devices or cordless designs and providing advice to consumers, supported by a non-binding product safety policy statement under the Fair Trading Act 1986.
• Option 4: mandatory product safety regulations, which could be either:
• Option 4A: mandatory design requirements for corded window coverings
• Option 4B: prohibiting window coverings with exposed cords