Window safety tips for families with children
After a long, bitter winter, there’s nothing better than opening the windows and airing out the home for the first time since fall. However, precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of any children in the house, as windows are one of the top five hidden hazards identified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In 2018, the CPSC estimated that over 3,300 children are treated in emergency rooms every year after falling from a window. To keep your own little ones safe around the windows in your home, follow this guide for expert tips for practicing good window safety.
Only open windows outside child’s reach
When children are around, it is good practice to keep all windows shut and locked as much as possible. On particularly hot days when ventilation is absolutely necessary, however, only use upper windows that children cannot access. Avoid placing furniture near the windows that your little climbers could use as a ladder to reach the window.
Switch to cordless blinds
The CPSC reports that about eight children die every year after being strangled by window covering cords. For families with young children, consider switching to cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords to avoid any chance of entanglement. As a temporary solution, remove the blinds entirely until they can be replaced.
Talk to your children about proper window safety
It is important to educate children on the dangers of playing on or near open windows, especially on upper floors of the home. However, this tactic is only suitable for older children, and only as an additional security measure. For all children, multiple safety precautions can and should be taken to stop fall injuries from occurring.
Install a chain lock on the windows
Remember that insect screens are not meant to provide adequate fall prevention as they can easily be dislodged with light force. To properly secure a window, use a chain lock instead. When installed on a window, these locks limit the distance that a window can open, thus reducing the possibility of a fall. For a less permanent solution, use a window guard instead, though you must be certain to purchase one that can be swiftly removed by an adult in an emergency. In addition to preventing falls, securing the windows in this way will also keep potential intruders from entering your home without your knowledge.
Use strategic landscaping
Even with all the proper safeguards in place, it is still possible for window falls to occur. To prevent falls from ending in serious injury or death, bushes and other foliage can be strategically placed underneath tall windows to cushion the fall if necessary. As a bonus, the additional shrubbery will positively affect the curb appeal of your property should you eventually decide to sell.
Windows provide our homes with light and beauty, though they can quickly become a serious health and safety risk if the correct safety measures are not met. To learn more, visit www.cpsc.gov for additional safety education and resources.