Click. Click. Click.
If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of windows being unlocked all around the country. And why not? Spring is here. It’s time to open the sash and let Mother Nature in. This is the time of year to enjoy those comforting breezes and sweet sounds.
However, while we’re on the subject of opening windows, we should also stress the importance of safety. This is National Window Safety Week (April 5-11, 2021), after all. It’s a time to ensure that we’re doing all we can to appreciate the benefits of windows without endangering our loved ones or guests.
Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in young children. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, window falls are responsible for over 3,000 injuries annually to children 5 and under. That’s a terrible statistic. But here’s one that’s much better: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that it only takes five minutes to keep a child from falling out of a window.
That’s right, as long as we take the time to make sure our windows are operating safely, we can prevent needless injury and death. Again, it only takes five minutes, so there’s no good excuse not to do it. Please read on to learn about the steps you can take to safeguard against a window-related injury.
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- Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that a child cannot reach.
- Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows or patio doors. Falling through the glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.
- Keep furniture – or, anything children can climb – away from windows. Children may use such objects as a climbing aid.
- Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce potential falls.
- Don’t rely on screens to prevent a window fall. Screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.
- If you have young children in your home and are considering installing window guards or window fall prevention devices, be aware that the window guards you install must have a release mechanism to that they can be opened for escape in a fire emergency. Consult your local fire department or building code official to determine proper window guard placement.
- Don 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. Always be sure that you have at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.
- If you’re putting blinds on your windows, consider using blinds-between-the-glass. As the name suggests, these blinds are placed between the panes of glass, so there’s no chance of a small child or pet becoming dangerously entangled in them.
- The degree of injury sustained from a window fall can be affected by the surface on which the victim falls. Shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass beneath windows may lessen the impact if a fall does occur.