Home for many children is a safe place where memories are made. Home can also be a place of danger if not child proofed or ready in case of emergency like fire. Common household fixtures like windows pose a danger to children. Window safety is a task that all adults are responsible for.
- Between 1990 and 2008, more than 98,400 children visited an emergency department with an injury from a window fall (that’s more than 5,000 per year). A full quarter of those kids were injured badly enough that they were admitted to the hospital.
- Nearly 65% of injuries occurred in the 0-4 age group, with the most common ages being 1-year-olds and 2-year-olds. Compared to older kids, younger kids were more likely to suffer head injuries, more severe injuries, and death.
- Toddlers and preschool-aged kids have the highest likelihood of falling from a window and getting (seriously) hurt.
- Did you know? Tears in Heaven was written following the death of Eric Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor, who fell from a window of the 53rd-floor New York apartment of his mother’s friend.1
Luckily window falls can be prevented. These are some recommended safety tips to help keep the little ones in your life safe around windows:
Move Furniture Away From Windows
Furniture is like a magnet for children, but furniture near windows and children do not mix! Placing furniture near windows increases the risk of a window-related fall accident. Decrease this risk by not placing furniture near or up against windows.
Remember the rule of “no more than four” meaning windows should not open more than four inches. If you have window that open more than four inches this can be easily fixed with a window stop. Window stops are installed on the side of windows and can be set to not open past a certain point.
Check window locks
Make sure your window locks are in good working condition. If you notice your locks are loose fitting or not working as they should, replace them.
Most window accidents happen in the spring and summer, when windows are open, so you’ll want to switch up your strategy depending on where you live and the season. If you want to be able to keep your windows open, you have two main options: window guards or window stoppers.
Window Guards: These are commonly used in multiple story buildings such as apartments. These resemble jail bars, and while not exactly the latest aesthetic they work on keeping children from falling out of windows.2
Open Double Hung Windows From the Top
A double hung window is the type where both sashes in the window frame move up and down. (On a single hung window, the top sash is fixed in place and does not move.)
Open double hung windows from the top down for the same ventilation and far less risk of a fall.3
Other Things to Keep in Mind
- Move furniture away from windows (there are more accidents when furniture is near a window).
- Remove the cranks from crank-open windows to keep kids from opening them.
- If you want the extra insurance, some parents like to use window alarms just in case — these sound an alarm if the window opens at all (or opens past a certain point)
- Do not rely on screens to keep your child from falling out a window. Screens are designed to keep BUGS out – not kids.
- If you live in an apartment, your landlord might be required to provide window guards, so you may want to check local ordinances. Some local/state public health departments provide window guards at a discounted rate
Window-related falls are preventable with proper safeguards put into place. We hope that our guidelines help make your home a safer place for the little people in your life.