Protect Your Child From Window Falls With These 5 Tips
Do you think that window fall prevention is only something that families living in high-rise apartment buildings have to worry about? Think again. In America alone, nearly 100,000 children have been injured by falls from windows in the past 20 years. A startling 94% of these falls were from windows located on first and second floors. No matter where you live, this risk is real. Read on to learn what you can do to safeguard your child from a window fall related injury.
1. Install Window Guards
Window guards are aluminum or steel bars that are screwed securely to window frames. Not to be confused with security bars that small children can easily slip through, window guard bars must be no more than 4-1/2 inches apart. Opt for a lock and key window guard that can be easily removed by an adult in the event of a house fire.
You can purchase window guards at your local hardware or box store. Make sure that the system you choose is approved by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene by looking for an approval code stamped on one of the bars.
2. Install Child-Safety Locks And Window Stops
Some window easily lock from the inside with a gentle turn of a lever -- while convenient, these types of locks won't stop a curious toddler. Purchase window locks specifically designed or child safety, and keep your windows closed and locked when children are near them.
Also, install window stops in all of your windows. Window stops are strips of wood, metal, or durable plastic that are placed inside the top of your window casings so that the bottom sashes of the windows can only go up to a certain height. According to kidshealth.org, a small child can slip through an opening as small as 5 inches, so it's recommended that you set your window stops to allow each of your windows to open no more than 4 inches.
3. Replace Single Hung Windows
The difference between single and double hung windows is that, on double hung windows, both the top and bottom sashes are operable. This means that you can open the windows from the top where the opening is inaccessible to the height limitations of small children.
On single hung windows, however, only the bottom sash is operable, so opening them from the top is not possible. Not only do single hung windows pose a greater risk of falls than double hung windows because of their easy-access openings, but they could also slam down and injure your child's fingers. If you have any single hung windows in your home, have them replaced with double-hung windows.
4. Keep The Area Around Your Windows Clear Of Furniture
When you have your windows open from the top, don't make them easily accessible by placing couches, chairs, stands, or tables in front of them. Your child could easily use the furniture to climb up and reach the openings.
If your child has a window in their bedroom, keep it locked, and remove any furniture from their room that they may be strong enough to carry or push to their window.
5. Cushion Potential Falls
Consider laying a bed of recycled rubber mulch on the ground beneath each of your windows. It's inexpensive, and has proven to have better shock and impact absorption than wood chips, sand, or pea gravel when used as playground fall protection.
Window falls aren't only a risk for families living in skyscrapers or high-rises -- they're a risk for anybody who has both windows and small children. Protect your child with the above tips for preventing window fall-related injuries. Continue to find out more about window installation professionals in your area to help make your windows safer for your children.