As spring arrives and the weather (eventually) gets warmer, people may want to open their windows to let the fresh air in. But open windows can pose serious risks to curious children. Each year, 3,500 to 5,000 U.S. children are hospitalized after falling from an open window. Over 85% percent of children fall through a window’s screen. And, worst of all, between 8 and 12 children will die each year from window falls.
The American Trauma Society, PA Division (ATSPA) and Safe Kids Pennsylvania (SKPA) want to raise awareness around window safety, and ensure your children stay safe and healthy. ATSPA CEO, Krista Brands stated, “Window Safety Week is a great time to learn about how to safeguard against window falls, and also understand the role of windows in escaping a fire or other emergency.”
The ATSPA and SKPA recommend the following safety measures to protect the children in your life:
Install Window Guards and Stops
- Screens are meant to keep bugs out, not children in. Properly install window guards to prevent unintentional window falls. For windows above the first floor, include an emergency release device in case of fire.
- Install window guards that adults and older children can easily open in case of emergency. Include this in your family’s fire escape plan and practice it regularly.
- Install window stops so that windows open no more than four inches.
- Teach your child how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency, such as a fire. While doors are the primary escape method, windows provide a secondary means of escape.
Open Windows from the Top and Close After Use
- If you have windows that can open from both top and bottom, make a habit of opening just the top to prevent accidental falls. Keep in mind that as kids grow, they may have enough strength, dexterity, and curiosity to open the bottom.
- Keep windows locked and closed when they are not being used.
Keep Kids from Climbing Near Windows
- For your crawlers and climbers, move chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows to help prevent window falls.
- Responsible adult supervision at all times is an essential element in keeping children safe around open windows and doors.
- Never move a child who appears to be seriously injured after a fall — call 911 and let trained medical personnel move the child with proper precautions.