In Pierce County, falls are the most common unintentional injury that requires a hospital stay for a child. Nationwide, thousands of children are injured or killed from window falls every year. The most common victims are toddlers who fall from an open bedroom window with a screen from a second or third-story home or apartment.
Seven Steps for Preventing Window Falls in Your Home
- Move furniture away from windows and balconies. A bed, couch and other furniture allows a child to get higher and closer to a window.
- Only open windows outside of a child’s reach or climbing distance. Open double-hung windows from the top. A child can fall from a window opened as little as five inches.
- Every year, many children fall out of open windows with window screens. Window screens will not keep your child from falling.
- If you must open a window within a child’s reach or climbing distance, install an operable window guard. Window guards have horizontal bars no more than four inches apart that screw into the side of a window frame. They are available in different sizes.
- For windows that can’t be used for fire escape, install stops that keep a window from opening wider than four inches. These can be purchased at a hardware store for about $2. Some new windows come with stops.
- Plant grass or shrubbery around your home to soften the impact surface in case of a fall.
- Monitor window safety at your child care location and anywhere children visit.
Window Guard Shopping Tips
- Look for an operable guard that has a quick-release that an adult or older child can use to remove the guard in case of fire.
- Security bars are not the same as window guards. These are vertical bars that can’t be removed in case of fire. Security bars are not recommended.
- Prices range from $26 - $70. Guards can be special ordered from a hardware store or over the Internet, from stores like Home Depot and Target.
For more information about window guards or child safety, check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.