Opening windows in your home to enjoy the warmer temperatures may seem harmless, but windows have proven to be sources of injury and death for young children. In recent weeks, several children have fallen from windows and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data indicates that on average, about eight deaths occur yearly to children five years or younger while an estimated 3,300 children five and younger are treated each year in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Hospitalization was required for about 34 percent of these children after falling from a window.
These deaths and injuries frequently occur when kids push themselves against window screens or climb onto furniture located next to an open window.
“The deaths and life-altering injuries we have seen here at CPSC are heart-breaking and in many cases preventable,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “We want parents and caregivers to think safety before opening the windows where young children are present.”
“Window falls increase dramatically during the spring and summer months but they can be prevented,” said Chrissy Cianflone, Director of Programs for Safe Kids USA. “It takes active supervision on the part of the parent or caregiver, and a device called a window guard. Screens are meant to keep bugs out, not kids in. Window guards are easy to install and have a release mechanism in the event of an emergency.”
“The window fall season is upon us. The harmless act of opening a window to enjoy the beautiful weather can lead to tragedy unless parents and caregivers of young children exercise proper safety precautions,” said Mindy A. Bockstein, Chairperson and Executive Director of the New York State Consumer Protection Board. “Let’s not be lulled into a false sense of security by window screens but properly install window guards and follow other safety measures.”
To help prevent injuries and tragedies, CPSC recommends the following safety tips:
- Safeguard your children by using window guards or window stops.
- Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of windows. (For windows on the 6th floor and below, install window guards that adults and older children can open easily in case of fire.)
- Install window stops so that windows open no more than 4 inches.
- Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows.
- Whenever possible, open windows from the top — not the bottom.
- Keep furniture away from windows, to discourage children from climbing near windows.
- Some jurisdictions require landlords to install guards. Check your local regulations.