As warmer weather finally arrives and windows are opened to let the breeze in, we often hear the grim news that another child has fallen out of a window to an untimely death or sustained serious injuries from a fall. The leading cause of injury to children age 5 and under is falls, with over 3,300 children falling out of windows each year. Children playing near or looking out a window are often at risk for harming themselves if preventable measures are not in place. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers can prevent window falls by following several safety tips:
• Window screens will not prevent a child from falling out of window! Regular screens are designed to keeps bugs out and will not support the weight of a falling child
• Install child safety window guards
• Window guards should consist of aluminum or steel bars with maximum 4-inch spacing that are installed in the bottom half of a double-hung window
• Window guards are designed to withstand 150 pounds of pressure and can be purchased at a local hardware or home improvement store for about $40 each
• Lock all unopened windows and doors
• Keep all furniture such as beds, sofas, and tables or anything a child can climb on away from windows
• Open windows from the top, not the bottom; especially when children are in the home
• If you must open windows from the bottom, buy window-stops at your local hardware store. These will limit the opening to less than 4 inches and cost approximately $5-10 each
• Supervise children at all times, and install child safety window guards
Deaths and injuries resulting from a fall through a window are tragic, but also preventable. While window guards offer added protection, no tool or equipment is 100% foolproof. Constant supervision is recommended to keep young children safe. Practice these safety tips and minimize the risk of injury to your child. For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Injury Prevention and Control Program at www.mass.gov/dph/injury.
For additional resources:
http://www.nsc.org/get_involved/divisions/Pages/WindowSafetyObservancesPdfs.aspx (includes downloadable materials and child coloring book)
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