You expect your home to be a safe place for your children—maybe even the safest. However, according to recent data from Safe Kids Worldwide, 2,200 children die each year from injuries sustained in the home. Caregivers take another 3.5 million kids to the ER after home accidents, and almost 2 million of them are treated for fall-related injuries. Some of these deaths and injuries involve falls from windows.
While National Window Safety Week takes place in April each year, anytime is a good time to assess window safety in your home. The National Safety Council offers the following suggestions to help you keep your children safe from life-threatening falls.
Always supervise – Nothing feels better than a fresh spring or summer breeze through open windows. However, if you choose to keep yours open during warm weather months, keep an eye on your children and teach them to play well away from the potential fall hazard.
If you can’t supervise, keep them closed – If you cannot stay with your children, close and lock the windows before leaving the room.
Don’t rely on screens – Most window screens are designed to keep insects out, not children in. They cannot withstand the weight of a child (or a pet) and will not prevent a fall.
Move the furniture – If you have small children, or if little ones are visiting your home, move furniture away from the windows. This will remove their temptation to climb up and potentially fall.
Ventilate in inches – Rather than opening windows wide, crack them a few inches. You’ll still get a breeze while keeping children (and pets) safe from falls. You may also want to consider installing limited-opening hardware on windows within your children’s reach. This hardware will prevent them from opening the window more than a few inches.
Bedroom Windows Save Lives
While falling from a window can lead to injury, it may be necessary for your children to use their bedroom window to exit your home in the event of an emergency—such as a fire. You’ll want to make certain they can safely do so. Consider these additional tips from the National Safety Council.
Test the windows – Make sure bedroom windows open easily and are not sealed shut by paint or swollen shut by weathering. If you cannot open them quickly and easily, replace them.
Buy escape ladders – If you have bedrooms on the second or third floor of your home, equip each one with an emergency escape ladder.
Practice – Teach your children how to open their windows and attach the escape ladder. Practice fire escape routes, both during the day and at night (when most house fires occur).
Download the National Safety Council’s window safety activity book for kids here. And remember: we’re here to help you protect your family. Please don’t hesitate to call with home safety or insurance-related questions.