Window falls account for about eight deaths and 3,300 injuries among children age five and younger each year. April 3-9, 2017 is National Window Safety Week and is designed to heighten the awareness of what can be done to help keep families safe from the risk of accidental falls or injuries in the home. Falls from a window are extremely dangerous, especially for children, and can cause serious injuries or even death. While National Window Safety Week is observed annually, safety education should occur throughout the year.
Windows play a vital role in home safety, serving as a secondary escape route in the event of a fire or other emergency, but they can also pose a risk for a fall if safety measures are not followed. Take a look at the guidelines below to learn how window-related injuries in the home can be prevented.
Safe Operation and Access
- When performing spring repairs, ensure that your windows are not painted or nailed shut. You must be able to open them to escape in an emergency.
- Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows high enough that a child cannot reach them.
- Keep furniture -- or anything children can easily climb -- away from windows. Children may use objects as a climbing aid.
- Do not rely on insect screens to prevent a fall, as they are designed to provide ventilation and NOT to prevent a child's fall from a window.
Emergency Exit and Egress
- Make sure nothing is blocking or preventing a window from being opened in the case of an emergency.
- Install building code-compliant devices, such as window guards (with quick-release mechanisms in case of fire).
- Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. Determine your family's emergency escape plan and practice it. Remember that children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.
- Do not install window unit air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape through the window.
- National Safety Council website.
- National Safety Council Window Safety Brochure.
- National Safety Council Window Safety Checklist.
Source: National Safety Council