It’s a nice fall day but a little stuffy in the kitchen, so a window is opened to let in some fresh air. But if you have small children, it’s important to recognize that a seemingly harmless open window can be a safety hazard. While it makes more sense to be concerned about window safety if you live in a high rise building, children can be injured from falling out of first and second story windows. Falls from a window are preventable. Here are some window safety tips to keep the children in your home safe.
Good Window Habits
From time to time, inspect the windows, both inside and out, to ensure that they are in good repair – no loose panes, broken hardware, or damaged or warped window sills.
Don’t leave a child alone in a room when the window is open.
Remove the hanging cords from blinds and other types of window coverings. If the cord can’t be removed, secure it with a blind cord wrap.
When not in use, keep windows closed and locked at all times.
When you need to open a window for ventilation, open one that children are unable to reach.
To a young child, wide ledges and sills are an invitation for exploration and adventure. If the window sills or ledges in your home can be climbed, supervise children when playing and direct play into the centre of the room, away from the windows.
Avoid the mindset that a window screen is a protective measure against falls. Screens are intended to keep insects out; not keep children in.
Install Window Locks
Newer homes typically have windows with latches or locks. For older homes or homes without pre-installed window latches/locks, you can purchase them from a local hardware store. Locked windows are a sound preventative measure, but only if they remain closed and locked at all times. When the weather is milder, people tend to open their windows: that is why the number of window accidents peak during the spring and summer.
Install Window Stoppers
There is an all-purpose window stopper for standard windows. For types of specialty windows such as casement or sliding windows, there different kinds of window stoppers available. Basically, all types of window stopper are designed to do the same thing – restrict how wide the window can be opened, usually four inches at most.
Install Window Guards
Many parents are reluctant to install window guards because it can make the space feel like a jail cell instead of a child’s bedroom. But they do work and are a very effective way to prevent falls from windows, especially when bedrooms are on the second floor of the house. Particularly if members of your family are in the habit of throwing open the windows to help circulate the air in main rooms such the living room and the kitchen area, window guards are a great solution for these rooms as well.
Window guards come in a variety of types, sizes, and features. Bars are available in both horizontal and vertical orientations: spacing between each bar should be no more than four inches. Another popular type that doesn’t involve bars is the mesh window guard, which is essentially a screen that is installed on the lower half of the window. Regardless of the kind of window guard, they should include an emergency release button (hidden from curious little fingers).
Rearrange the Furniture
Keep furniture pieces that can be climbed and stood on away from the windows.
When decorating a nursery, place the crib on the wall opposite the windows in the room.
For children under the age of six, beds should also be kept away from windows.