Especially since most of British Columbia is being affected by this heat wave opening a window can provide a little relief. But open windows pose a safety hazard to small children. BC Children’s Hospital has already reported five children being rushed to emergency due to falls from an open window or off of a balcony. Here are some window safety tips to keep the children in your home safe as the weather becomes warmer.
Window Home Maintenance
Inspect the windows, both inside and out, to ensure that they are working properly and do not display any signs of damage such as missing or loose panes or broken hardware. Also check the trim for peeling paint or soft spots – peeling paint allows moisture in; when window frames are made of wood, it can lead to wood rot. Make any required repairs as soon as possible. Cracks, holes, splintered areas, and worn seals compromise the strength and durability of windows.
Childproof Your Windows
Remove the tempting dangling cords from blinds and drapes or secure them with a cord wrap.
If the windows have cranks remove them to avoid children from accidentally opening the window. Consider replacing them with foldable window cranks, which are safer.
Install window locks if the windows do not already have them. When not in use, keep windows closed and locked to prevent curious little fingers from opening them.
Another way to childproof your windows is to install window stoppers. This allows the window to be opened, but only wide enough to let fresh air in and keep the child from falling out.
Install Window Guards
Window guards typically work with most types of windows. They are installed by screwing the guard into the window frame. They are a very effective way to prevent children from falling out of the window when it needs to be fully opened to help properly ventilate a room. Make sure that the kind of window guard you select for your home includes an emergency release button so that you can use the window as an escape exit if needed.
Move Furniture away from Windows
Children love to climb and explore. Every room in a house provides its own adventure – beds are trampolines and a living room is a jungle gym.
Until they can understand the dangers an open window can pose beds, for children six and under, should be placed on walls away from the windows in the room.
The same goes for furniture in a living room or a family room. Move any furniture pieces that can be climbed on away from windows. Arrange the furniture in such a way that it can’t be used to access another piece of furniture near enough to a window to pose a threat.
Store step stools and short step ladders used used to reach high shelves and kitchen cabinets away from small children who could use them to reach an open a window.
More Tips for Keeping Children Safe
Window screens are window screens. To a parent or caregiver something that covers a window will probably prevent a child from falling out. However, the purpose of a screen is to prevent insects from entering your home; they are generally not designed to withstand the weight of a small child.
Supervise small children at all times in rooms where you can’t see them.
It’s just a one-story house – accidents can still happen. Install child safety mechanisms on any window that is six or more feet from the ground.
Landscape for falls should they occur. Consider placing shrubs, mulch, or wide raised flower beds to provide a soft place to land.