As warmer weather ensues, the federal government is warning parents about a household hazard that you might not expect: windows. On average, 25 people die each year after falling out of windows, and 1/3 of those deaths are children under the age of five. This tragic scenario, however, can be easily avoided. There are some simple steps that parents can and should take to make sure your home is safe for the whole family.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises that parents and guardians should never rely on window screens to keep children inside. Many of these screens are “easy release” or are simply not strong enough to hold the weight of even a small child. It’s best to have windows that open from the top, rather than the bottom. Many new windows open from the top, but if your windows are bottom-openers, use guards or stops.
A window guard keeps children from falling out, but if you live on the 6th floor or lower, says the CPSC, make sure the guard can be easily removed by adults and older kids, in case you need to escape during a fire. A window stop simply stops the window from opening. A four inch opening height is safe.
Regardless of the safety of the window itself, keep furniture someplace other than directly next to or under a window. Direct placement encourages children to climb near windows, so even if they are just playing on a chair, they could still fall. Taking these steps are very simple ways to keep your family safe and have a greater peace of mind about the safety of your home environment.