Turning down the heat Volume 2 2022. I investigate the discontinuation of corded blinds.

I recently tried to upgrade to cellular blinds in my condo. These blinds are marketed as being able to block heat from the outside and keep heat inside. This was an opportunity to replace the broken cord on the mail order blinds from Select Blinds. I contacted Home Depot and they sent someone out to measure and show me samples. At the time, they told me that corded blinds were being discontinued since Health Canada was about to pass regulations in 2022 banning corded blinds because of deaths of children due to the cords. About 3 months later the blinds arrived it and they installed them. At about 6 months, the first of the 5 blinds would not longer open, so I sent it back. Then about 11 months later the same thing happened and this time I had to uninstall it, package it and mail it back to Levolor in Arizona. Home Depot agreed to cover the $ 50 in postage when I asked.

Ok this is not the end of the world. I suspect everyone is having similar hassles or worse. But being the inquisitive sort of person, I wanted to find out more about the ban on corded blinds because I could not believe that magnitude of infant deaths could really be justified in removing so many products off the market. So I set out to do some research on the issue, which is of course easy in todays world but very time consuming as there is a very deep rabbit hole here. And what is the point of all this dear reader?? It is more about getting it out of my brain rather than sharing my experiences with everyone. But everyone I talked to expressed irritation at the changes. I’m not going to change anything. I also wonder if the effort is justified.

Here is what I discovered:

Canada has banned corded blinds.(1)

According to the Canadian Gazette(2) “Over the next 20 years, this would mean the strangulation death of up to 26 children in Canada. It is estimated that adopting the proposed Regulations would prevent the death of 20 of those 26 children over the next 20 years, as well as prevent other non-fatal strangulation injuries. The proposed Regulations would result in a socio-economic benefit valued at approximately $1 million per year starting in the first year, increasing to almost $10 million per year once risks are fully eliminated in the tenth year and beyond. Over the next 20 years, this would provide a social benefit valued at approximately $73 million.” This document estimated 1.3 deaths due to blind cords per year in Canada but did not describe methods to calculate the rate.

“The proposed Regulations would also significantly reduce testing requirements for industry, which is estimated to be a saving of $5.7 million per year, resulting in cumulative savings of $64 million.
The total benefits of the proposed Regulations are estimated to be $138 million over 20 years (2016 price level, discounted at 7%).” The report has a detailed economic analysis of the costs and benefits based on theoretical models.

US data on infant deaths is confusing.

Several different measures were used to try an estimate deaths due to blind cords. The first approach used anecdotal information “Based on newspaper clippings, consumer complaints, death certificates purchased from states, medical examiners’ reports, reports from hospital emergency department-treated injuries, and in-depth investigation reports, CPSC staff found a total of 209 reported fatal and near-miss strangulations on window covering cords that occurred among children <8 years old from January 2009 – December 2021.” This is 16 deaths/year(3). A second source estimated 8.1 deaths per year due to blind cords.(4)The CDC reported a rate of 25.5 deaths per 100,000 live births due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed using the ICD 10 codes in 2020. Figure 2 A fourth source was a peer reviewed article published in 2018 found 141 blind entanglements resulted in death over 16 years, for an annual death rate of 8.8 per year.(5) This was the most thorough analysis of data I found.

Figure 1(6)

I then went to the US Mortality Data base and the ICD Code W 75 to show trends over time which have been increasing Figure 2

Figure 2(7)

ICD W 75 is Accidental Suffocation and strangulation in bed.

The range of deaths from different sources range from 8 -25 per year depending on the methods and data sources. Most deaths using the ICD 10 code accidental strangulation W75 are in children under one year of age, male, Native American or Black or living in the southern US states. A fifth source of data is the US Emergency Dept database.(8) I explored the data base but the data on deaths was not published on line. This database included a field 683 Window Shades, Venetian Blinds, or Indoor Shutter but does not specify cords.

The manufacturers of blinds published a post in 2021 about the cost of re-tooling and the potential 4,900 job losses. This was not included the cost benefit analysis above.

So, what does all this tell us?

  • It is difficult to come up with a precise number of infants deaths due to strangulation by blind cords but there is a small number of infant deaths attributed to cords in blinds.
  • The cost benefit analysis is theoretical and the data is difficult to find and substantiate.
  • It will be impossible to say if the ban reduces unexpected infant deaths until there is an accurate way to report the deaths.
  • There will be a time lag until new types blinds can be produced and existing blinds replaced.
  • People may give up on blinds and go back to drapes to help mitigate loss of heat.
  • There is going to be a lot of customer feedback on the changes that will have to be born by retailers.
  • With todays level of technical capacity, manufactures should be able to come up with an alternative to corded blinds that open from the top. So why I haven’t they found anything that does the job?
  • In this time of deaths from COVID, guns and drugs, the amount of time and effort put into the banning of blinds exceeds the benefits that could be derived by banning guns and controlling substance use.
  • WordPress does not enable importing of footnotes.


The WHO has added new codes to the ICD 11 in 2022  PB00 Unintentional threat to breathing by suffocation from object covering mouth or nose.  Object or substance producing injury E92A Roller or venetian blind or indoor shutter.

[1] https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2019-97/FullText.html

[2] https://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2017/2017-06-17/html/reg7-eng.html

[3] https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/11/28/2022-25041/safety-standard-for-operating-cords-on-custom-window-coverings

[4]  N. Marcy, G. Rutherford. “Strangulations Involving Children Under 5 Years Old.” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, December 2002. was widely cited in the reports but the document was not found on the WWW.

[5] Bridget Onders, Eun Hye Kim, Thitphalak Chounthirath, Nichole L. Hodges, Gary A. Smith; Pediatric Injuries Related to Window Blinds, Shades, and Cords. Pediatrics January 2018; 141 (1): e20172359. 10.1542/peds.2017-2359

[6] https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm#:~:text=We%20defined%20cause%20of%20death,%2C%20(799.9%3B%20R99).

[7] https://wonder.cdc.gov/controller/datarequest/D76;jsessionid=E2A5C8A8389056FA2E5F2DA9A781

[8] https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/NEISSQuery/UserCriteria.aspx?UserAff=XNTlUuA3gVTx5UjCJb8RMA%3d%3d&UserAffOther=ACCDbi4Soz8YSJIYHY0l%2fA%3d%3d

Turning down the heat

I recently sold my condo in Vancouver and moved to  Courtenay BC.  I although I had stayed in Courtenay for a few weeks last year, I did not realize how noisey and busy it had become compared to paradise. (Hornby Island)  Ironically, Vancouver became considerably quieter with Covid-19.  Traffic was down by about 80%.  Everything was closed except grocery stores.

My new 4th floor condo in Courtenay overlooks a busy street and faces west, letting the hot evening sun stream into my floor-to-ceiling windows.  Not something the home inspector picked up on when she viewed the unit. I investigated some home cooling options and started with ceiling fans which have helped.  Then  Safe and Sound came to install window film.  Visually it looks good, a bit like looking through sun glasses. They used 3 different kinds of film, depending on the sun exposure.

Even with the film it is still too hot without the AC on at the peak of the heat of the day.  The temperature on the balcony sometimes hit 40C. The portable AC was a very good investment.  I also bought a tilting patio umbrella.  It took a while to ship the order as I guess they were sold out.    I tracked the temperature on an excel speadsheet (see below) and the inside temperature has been able to be kept around 25C or less while the outside temperature goes up to 40C late in the afternoon. So here are stategies in the order of how much I think it helps:

  1. portable air conditioner $500
  2. window film $2500
  3. tilting patio umbrella $200
  4. opening windows on the north side of the building during the day,
  5. ceiling fans x 2 $500

Some of the heat is a result of the heat rising from the other floors in the building.  Really the whole building should have air conditioning.  Ok  I think this project is done!

Canada’s data gaps hampered COVID-19 pandemic response, hurting vaccination tracking: report – The Globe and Mail

Canada could not track the spread of the virus as effectively as it needed to last year and is now struggling to keep tabs on vaccine effectiveness because of flaws in the system, the report claims
— Read on www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/canada/article-canadas-data-gaps-hampered-pandemic-response-hurting-vaccination/

An Evidence-Based Strategy to Scale Vaccination in Canada :: Longwoods

Vaccination rollout efforts in Canada have been criticized for being slow to get under way. The results emerging from a national research study document the und
— Read on www.longwoods.com/content/26443/healthcare-quarterly/an-evidence-based-strategy-to-scale-vaccination-in-canada

This explains some possible factors in success/failure among Canadian provinces. Hard to statistically correlate factors with success. Nevertheless it is good to have someone capture system and structural factors the differ among provinces. Discussion of Quebec would strengthen theory.

19 Tips For Reading More This Year

19 Tips For Reading More This Year
— Read on www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/ariannarebolini/how-to-read-more-pandemic-2021

My favourite is the Chrome Extension so you can synch your Goodreads with the library you use. I also discovered Libby is the app to download for Vancouver Public Library and Vancouver Island public library not Overdrive.

Overcoming Zoomaphopia Part 3 How to set up a zoom discussion/support group

Zoom Room Meeting protocols:

This is the third part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.

The Zoom Room experience has been fun and interesting. I think we and others broke new group during COVID19. I have made a list of some of issues that may came up and how your group might tackle them. Option 1 is to set up some meeting protocols at the beginning. Option 2 is to deal with protocols as you go along. Initially too many protocols can be overwhelming, but they can help to set some expectations about behaviour and help build stability during a time of rapid social change and unpredictability.

  • Structured vs unstructured meetings: Members will have different experience with speaking out in a group or in a video format. Some people will not want to show their face and just use audio. Some people like having a set time and sequence to speak and others like a more random conversation like at a cocktail party. Try out both modes and see what the group like. The unstructured mode can generate spontaneous discussions, but quiet people may need a prompt from the group leader.
  • Focus Be clear about the intent of the Zoom meeting, but this can morph over time.
  • Security: lots of people are anxious about the possibility of being hacked. Some general discussion might be helpful about how to protect privacy on Zoom.
  • Behaviour: There seems to be some unwritten code of conduct on Zoom. Some of these codes of conduct are about swearing, disrespect, grandstanding, interjections, people talking over each other etc. A group leader needs to attend to these behaviours so they don’t sabotage the meeting.
  • Privacy/confidentialityI have found that bonding occurs in most Zoom meetings. This includes my ESL students as well as friends and acquaintances. I have found conversations are quite deep and that people are open about self disclosure. As a result there is an assumed level of privacy, which is not often explicitly discussed in the meetings.Decide if you mind having family, guests or others in the Zoom room. Sometimes girl talk is private! Sharing the meeting content with people outside the meeting may come up as an issue. Find a level that is acceptable to most people. If you are a blogger and want to blog about your experiences with the group, get a pre-approval from individuals if you want to refer to their blog or post pictures. One Zoomer says ” What is said in Zoom stays in Zoom”.
  • Time out– Feel free to take time out or leave when you need to. Give the group the heads up.
  • New members/visitors/guest speakersThere may be subtle groups norms in your group. Its a bit like clique in high school. One group may want to keep the same members and others may welcome new members. In this moment of COVID 19, being open to new members may be the more altruistic approach but it may be challenging for new members to get up to speed. Getting some agreement about these issues early on is wise.
  • Zoom fatigue:-
    Many people who are working at home may be too Zoomed out to participate. This might lend itself to a once a month drop-in Zoom meeting with a guest speaker that doesn’t require a high cognitive demand.
  • Leaders:-
    constant vs rotating. Once members have learned the Zoom process, they can take on some responsibility for organizing meetings and being the discussion leader. Having the same facilitator is easy but rotating facilitators builds Zoom confidence and polishes up social skills in a time of isolation. Give people a few weeks to get comfortable with the format.
  • Leadership skills: Having a group leader which experience with organizing and chairing meetings can be an asset. Having a chair who understands meeting dynamics is helpful too.

Overcoming Zoomaphopia. Part 2 Topics for discussion for zoom social groups

This is the second part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.

This section is a list of topics my Zoom group has used. They were all interesting and sometimes controversial topics which added to the fun factor for me. The first 30 min of the meeting was a brief update from each person about highs and lows of the week and the group found this a very valuable part of the meeting.

“Zoom calls done right, with the right people and the right trust in place is an astounding opportunity to gain better understanding of others and most notably, better understanding of self” https://retirementreflections.com.

  • Did you have a desire to pursue another career, yet life moved you forward in this direction? What other career path would you have chosen knowing what you know now?  Why?
  • What is the most useless talent you have?
  • What talent don’t you have that you wish you did?
  • Share something that has inspired you this past week. e.g.
    • personal anecdote
    • good news story
    • photograph
    • piece of art
    • nature
    • blog post
  • Recall a time that you have been politically active in a political party as a volunteer, campaign manager, candidate, or in some other capacity. Or alternatively, have you ever been an activist (e.g., participated in a march, letter writing campaign, blockade, etc.)? What motivated you to become active in a political party or a political activist? If you have never been politically active or an activist, why not?
  • We are now in the ninth month of Covid-related restrictions. Please share one, or several, positive impacts this experience has had on your life and/or relationships. When this is over, how will 2020 not only be a year of loss and limitations, but also one that – because of the virus – we have personally learned something, done something, or experienced something we might not have otherwise?
  • Baking-Do you like to bake, or are you a big believer in getting sweet treats from the bakery instead? Does Christmas inspire you to bake? Do you have an old family recipe that you turn to again and again? Has COVID inspired a new interest in baking? Do you have a recipe or baking disaster you want to share?
  • Select an old photo of yourself that you really like – preferably one that is at least 10 years old.  Tell us the story of that photo – who were you? What was happening in your life?
  • Have you ever done a “gratitude practice,” and if yes, what was it and how did it work for you? Plus, what are the THREE most important things you are grateful for right now?
  • A colleague once told me that he didn’t believe in retirement – that it only happened when we passed away. Up until that point, we are merely ‘writing’ new chapters in our life. In that spirit, describe this current chapter you are living in right now. Where are you in this chapter – a new beginning, a middle, or an end? What 2-3 phrases best describe you in this chapter?
  • I have been fortunate to have had mentors. In school, work and in life. Do you have a mentor you would like to share with us?  How did they mentor you? How did they change your life? It can be more than one person from the past or the present.
  • What do you fear about getting older?
  • If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  • Do you have a favourite childhood Christmas memory?  A Christmas tradition you carry forward?  A new tradition? If you do not celebrate Christmas, do you enjoy the holiday season in other ways?
  • What long term change, or new habit, can you see in your life as a result of this extraordinary COVID period?
  • What are your coping strategies during Quarantine/ LockDown/ COVID19
  • Best Apps for your phone
  • If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  • What are some of your favourite books?
  • What is your Enneagram type?

With thanks to some of the Blogging Zoomers for their contributions. https://retirementreflections.com