The windows in our homes can serve many purposes. We often gaze through them to access the weather before going outside or open them up to let in a fresh breeze. Windows can even save our lives as an escape route during an emergency. At the same time, it is important to keep our families safe from the potential dangers of an open window.
Each year, 3,300 injuries are caused by window-related falls among children under the age of 5. Fortunately, window-related accidents and injuries are almost always avoidable with the right habits and practices in place. Observed April 6-12, National Window Safety Week is a time to take steps to prevent accidental window falls among young children and make sure our windows are prepped for emergencies.
Here’s what you can do to get started:
- Install window guards on all windows above the first floor of any homes with young children. You can buy quick-release window guards at most hardware stores.
- Open windows from the top, not the bottom, whenever possible.
- Keep low furniture and anything a child can climb on away from windows.
- Use window stops to prevent windows from opening more than four inches.
- Make sure you can open every window in the home. Windows that are nailed or painted shut are useless in an emergency situation.
- Create a family emergency escape plan, and make sure any windows chosen as secondary escape exits are clear from obstruction.
- Place soft outdoor surfaces underneath windows to temper the degree of injury from potential falls. Shrubs, wood chips and grass are all good options to plant beneath your windows this spring.
- Engage young children in discussions about window safety – there are some fun options!
- Consider keeping a window safety checklist for everyday use.
- Share what you’ve learned in your community to promote well-being. A simple way to spread the word is with flyers and pamphlets.
The national Window Safety Task Force provides additional tips for preventing window-related injuries and tools to advocate for window safety awareness. To help spread the word about National Window Safety Week, make sure to share these tips with everyone you know.
What are your window safety tips? Share your ideas in the comments below or by tweeting us, @MassGov.
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