Windows rank as one of the top five hidden hazards in the home.
Falls from windows are more common than people might think. According to a report by SafeKids Worldwide, an average of eight children age 5 and younger die and more than 3,300 are injured each year from falling out of windows.
The Window Safety Task Force offers these tips to help protect children from accidental window falls:
- When young children are around, keep windows closed and locked.
- When opening a window for ventilation, use those located out of a child’s reach.
- Supervise children to keep child’s play away from windows, balconies or patio doors.
- Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent young children from climbing and gaining access to an open window.
- Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce potential falls.
- Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.
- Install ASTM F2090 compliant devices designed to limit how far a window will open or window guards (with quick-release mechanisms in case of fire or other emergency) to help prevent a fall.
- Teach your child how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency, such as a fire.
Corded Window Coverings Can Cause Strangulation
Loose or looped window covering cords pose a strangulation risk to children. According to the CPSC, about eight children die each year after becoming entangled in a window covering cord.
Use only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords in homes with young children. The Best for Kids Program, launched by the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, identifies window covering products that are best suited for use in homes with young children.
Free retrofit kits are available through the Window Covering Safety Council when replacement of older corded window coverings is not an option.
A Window Could be Your Lifeline in an Emergency
Windows can save lives when used as emergency escape routes.
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.
The Window Safety Task Force offers the following tips to help protect your family:
- Create a home fire escape plan that includes two exits from every room in your home, through a door and a window.
- Practice your fire escape plan during the day and at night, as many home fires occur at night.
- Practice opening and closing windows that may be designated as emergency exits.
- Attempt to open a window first, rather than break the glass, if you must exit through it in an emergency.
- Open the window to escape or choose another exit route, if your home features windows with impact-resistant glass, like that used in some hurricane-prone areas.
- When remodeling your home, understand emergency escape and rescue (egress) building code requirements. Egress windows are those designated by code as large enough for you to escape through or for rescue workers to enter in emergency situations.
- If you equip windows in your home with window guards or fall prevention devices, use those that comply with ASTM F2090, which utilize quick-release mechanisms.
Window Safety Week
Window Safety Week is observed on the first full week of April each year. NSC and the Window Safety Task Force provide materials and information you can use to share the window-safety message with your family.