Windows are Vital to Survival, but Keep Safety in Mind

  • Learn How Falls Can Be Prevented

    There’s no way to hear the story about rock guitarist Eric Clapton’s 4-year-old son, Conor, without being overcome with shock and sadness.

    Conor fell 49 stories to his death in New York City in March 1991 after a maintenance worker opened a 6-by-4-foot window in the apartment where Conor was staying with his mother on vacation. According to the New York Times, Conor, unaware the window was open, ran across the room and fell through the opening. The window did not have a protective apparatus around it.

    This tragedy is well known because it involved a public figure, but falls from windows are more common than people might think. According to the Safe Kids Worldwide 2015 Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home, about eight children under age 5 die each year from falling out a window, and more than 3,300 are injured seriously enough to go to the hospital.

    NSC, along with window and door industry professionals and other safety advocates, formed the Window Safety Task Force in 1997 to educate caregivers about window safety. The Task Force offers these suggestions to help protect children:

    • Remember, there is no substitute for adult supervision when it comes to window safety; keep an eye on children and keep their play safely away from windows
    • Keep windows closed and locked when children are present
    • When opening windows for ventilation, make sure children can't reach them
    • For a double-hung window on an upper floor of the home, open the top sash nearest the ceiling for ventilation while keeping the bottom sash closed
    • Don't rely on insect screens to prevent a fall; they are not designed to withstand the weight of a person
    • Keep furniture away from windows as they could tempt a curious child to climb and potentially fall
    • Don't allow children to jump on beds or other furniture, which could lead to a fall
    • If there are young children in the home, install ASTM-approved limited-opening hardware, which only allows a window to open a few inches

    Check Window Covering Cords

    About one child per month dies from window cord strangulation, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Another will be treated following a near strangulation.

    Parents and caregivers are urged to check their window coverings for exposed or dangling cords, and every year in October, the Window Covering Safety Council and CPSC sponsor National Window Covering Safety Month to remind caregivers of the risks.

    Safety experts recommend only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords be used in homes with young children. If you can't replace your window coverings with today's safer products, free retrofit kits are available through the Window Covering Safety Council.

    Windows rank as one of the Top 5 Hidden Hazards in the Home, according to the CPSC.

    Windows Save Lives


    Since its inception, the Window Safety Task Force has distributed thousands of information kits with tips for preventing falls and using windows as emergency escape routes. These efforts seek to decrease residential fire deaths.

    According to most residential building codes, bedrooms and other sleeping areas must have a secondary means of escape in case of fire or smoke, and that exit is often a window. Just having windows designated for escape is not enough; they also must be safe and accessible.

    • Test windows to make sure they open easily and are not sealed shut by paint, dirt or weathering
    • If windows can't be opened quickly and easily, replace them
    • Keep escape routes free from clutter to speed your escape and to help prevent potential falls; you could be exiting in the dark or through smoke
    • Practice fire escape routes with everyone in the home
    • Conduct daytime and nighttime drills (most fires occur at night) and assign someone to assist sound sleepers, young children or those with limited mobility
    • Keep emergency escape ladders in second- or third-story bedrooms and teach everyone in the home how to use them
    • Examine window hardware and make sure windows lock to help seal out air and moisture and help keep intruders out
  • National Window Safety Week

    The Window Safety Task Force works year-round to promote window safety awareness, and every April it sponsors National Window Safety Week. Window Safety Week will be observed April 3-9, 2016.

    The week coincides with the arrival of spring, when homeowners naturally want to open their windows and let in fresh air. During this time, NSC and the Task Force encourage homeowners and caregivers to think about ways to help keep families safer, whether it’s protecting children from falls or practicing an escape route.

    For safety's sake, print our window safety brochure, checklist and kids’ activity book, and share them with everyone in your household so they are aware of their role in window safety.

    By all means, let the warm spring breezes in. Just don’t throw safety to the wind.

  • Are Your Windows as Safe as They Can Be?

    ​It's important to protect children from falls while still keeping windows accessible for escape during a fire. 

    Get the Checklist
  • NSC, Window & Door Industry Form Task Force

    ​Injury prevention groups like the Window Safety Task Force have helped decrease injuries and deaths from home fires.

    Read More

Are Your Window Coverings Safe?

A message from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  • Helpful Tools and Tips to Promote Window Safety

    ​The NSC Window Safety Task Force has compiled information you can use to promote window safety awareness in your community, club or service organization.

    Learn More
  • Window Safety Activity Book For Kids

    ​Get the whole family involved with window safety by sharing this fun activity book with your children.

    Activity Book
  • Keep the Promise to Keep Your Children Safe

    ​You whisper a promise to your child, "I'll always keep you safe." But it takes more than promises; it takes planning.

    Download Brochure

National Safety Council Mission

The National Safety Council saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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