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2011-04-28

Window Safety for Children

Window Safety....hmmmmm......Seems like a very basic topic, doesn't it? But many, many accidents every year involving children happen to be falls through windows - some with tragic consequences. Here's a little reminder tip sheet from, you guessed it ;-), HSW:


Event Highlights
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) together with the U.S. National Safety Council recently urged parents and caregivers to be aware of the dangers of leaving windows open when young children are present. Provided below is information adapted from the U.S. CPSC and Safe Kids Canada websites. JA
As temperatures go up, so do windows in many homes. Opening windows in your home to enjoy the warmer temperatures may seem harmless, but open windows have proven to be sources of injury and death for young children.

Young children can easily fall from open windows and off balconies. They are curious and don't understand the risks of falling from heights. Falls from windows have caused serious injuries and death.  Window screens are not designed to prevent falls. Screens can easily give way under the weight of a small child.
According to CPSC data, falls from windows result in an average of about eight deaths yearly to children five years or younger in the U.S., while an estimated 3,300 children ages five and younger are treated each year in hospital emergency departments. On average, one of every three children, about 34 percent, required hospitalization after falling from a window.
These deaths and injuries frequently occur when kids push themselves against window screens or climb onto furniture located next to an open window. These incidents increase dramatically during the spring and summer months.
“We want parents and caregivers to think ‘safety first’ before opening windows where young children are present. The deaths and life-altering injuries are heartbreaking and in many cases preventable,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Here are some safety tips to help prevent window and balcony falls:

Install window guards and/or window stops.•Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of windows. Window guards are a barrier in front of the window. They are available with both horizontal and vertical bars. Make sure to purchase window guards that have a release mechanism so that they can be fully opened in case of an emergency. Window guards have bars spaced no more than 10 cm (four in) apart.

•Install window stops so that windows open no more than 4 inches (10 cm). Window stops are small devices that prevent a window from opening more than 10 cm (four in), so that a child cannot fall out.

•Check your local hardware or home renovation store for window guards and stops. An internet search will also find on-line stores that can ship the products to you.

•If you live in an apartment, landlords may be required to provide window stops or guards. Tenants living in apartment building should check with their municipality to see if there is a window safety by-law. This may mean that a landlord must provide window stops or guards for you.

Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows.
•Do not lean on screens or rely on them to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.

Whenever possible, open windows from the top - instead of the bottom.
Keep your young child away from open windows and balcony railings. 
•Always place cribs, beds and other furniture away from windows. Make sure that doors to balconies are kept locked. Furniture or other objects on balconies should be arranged away from railings.
•Supervise children to prevent them from playing near windows, balconies or patio doors.

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