Windows Play Major Role in Emergency Evacuation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reminds everyone that it only takes 5 minutes to prevent a child from falling out a window.

Windows let in light and fresh air, and can provide breathtaking views, but they also are vital to safety. It's important to understand what you can do to observe window safety, especially when young children are in the home.

Why is Window Safety Week Important?

Window Safety Week in April coincides with the arrival of spring, when homeowners naturally want to open the windows and let in fresh air. Its goal is twofold: for families to understand the role of windows in escaping a fire or other emergency and to learn to safeguard against accidental window falls.

The Window Safety Task Force of the National Safety Council proudly observes Window Safety Week each year during the first full week of April. 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. Our hope is that these lessons will last a lifetime.

A Window Could be Your Lifeline in an Emergency

Windows have saved many lives when used as emergency escape routes. Larger, egress windows can take on an even greater role by preventing families from being trapped in a basement and by more easily allowing rescue crews to enter the home.

How prepared are you to escape a fire? You will likely have little time to think, which is why it is essential to develop and test an escape plan at least twice a year with everyone in the home.

As part of your home escape plan:

  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut
  • Do not install air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape
  • Make sure at least one window in each bedroom meets escape and rescue requirements
  • Window guards, security bars, grilles or grates render windows useless in an emergency unless they have a release mechanism; update them if necessary
  • Develop an emergency escape plan and practice it during the day and at night
  • Keep emergency escape ladders in second- or third-story bedrooms and teach everyone in the home how to use them

Window Falls are Preventable

According to

  • Children are twice as likely to sustain a fall-related injury at home than at a childcare facility
  • Window falls occur more frequently in urban areas
  • Window falls account for about eight deaths and 3,300 injuries among children 5 and younger each year

"It only takes seconds for a preventable window fall to occur," said Amy Artuso, program manager at NSC. "To avoid these needless tragedies, it is very important for parents and caregivers to take steps to prevent home falls."

Do you ever think about your windows, other than how dirty they are getting? Take a few minutes now to consider what you can do to help keep your loved ones safe around windows, and commit these rules to memory:

  • Remember that insect screens cannot support a child's weight
  • Never leave children unattended around open windows, with or without a screen
  • Windows within a child's reach should remain closed
  • Don't place furniture under windows; children can climb and potentially fall from an open window
  • Keep children's play areas away from windows, balconies or patio doors

While Window Safety Week officially falls in April, we encourage you to practice window safety year-round. Lives depend on it.

What is the Window Safety Task Force?

Formed in 1997, the Window Safety Task Force works year-round in conjunction with NSC, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Safe Kids Worldwide, the International Code Council and other safety advocates to promote window safety awareness. Members include representatives from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, the Screen Manufacturers Association and other organizations.

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

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

Helpful Tools to Promote Window Safety

The NSC Window Safety Task Force has compiled information you can use to promote window safety.

  • This media kit contains news releases, social media tools, task force contacts and other information for media and consumer audiences.
  • Use this tool kit to promote window safety awareness in your company, as well as with family, friends, community or service organizations.