Now that the warm weather has finally come, many people have finally been able to open their windows, however while screens may help to let fresh air in while keeping bugs out, they do little when it comes to protecting kids from falling out and getting seriously injured. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about twelve children 10 years old and younger die each year, and more than 4,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for window fall-related injuries. It is also important to realize that toddlers have been known to get trapped in window openings in as little as 5 inches.
As a result, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is recommending 8 simple safety precautions to help keep your kids safe.
1).Never assume an unlocked window is childproof.
2) Set and enforce rules that your child cannot play near windows especially the activity many kids love – jumping on the bed.
3) Strategic landscaping may lessen the extent of injury sustained in the event of a fall. Shrubs and soft edging such as wood chips or grass under a window can cushion potential falls.
4) ) Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows.
5) Open windows from the top, not the bottom, whenever possible.
6) Keep furniture away from windows to discourage children from climbing near windows.
7) Install window stops so that windows open no more than four inches.
8) Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of windows. These have been shown to reduce fatal falls by up to 35% as seen in a pilot study in New York City and the nonprofit product testing organization, ASTM International,
9) For windows on the 6th floor and below, install window guards that adults and older children can open easily in case of fire. For windows on the 7th floor and above, install permanent window guards.
10 ) Look for guards that have bars no more than four inches apart and are difficult for very young children to open, but which also allow for escape in case of emergencies.
11) Take a moment to secure the curtain pulls or blind cords out of reach — kids have been strangled while playing with dangling cords. Install safety tassels on the ends of the curtain pulls or cut the loops so a child is less likely to get trapped.
Note: that while these may help protect young children, no safety device can take the place of active adult supervision. Always keep an eye on kids around open windows. Making your home child-safe is not a one-time project – It’s an ongoing activity.
In the event an accident does occur, do not attempt to move a child who appears to be seriously injured after a fall — call 911 and let trained medical personnel move the child with proper precautions. (Of course, if a child is not breathing and you are trained in CPR, as all parents should be, follow your CPR protocols.)
For more information regarding window guards and other safety products contact The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission 800 638-2772.