Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

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Center for Childhood Safety For information, call 253-403-1234

Prevent window falls

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.

Follow these steps to prevent window falls in your home:

  1. Move furniture away from windows and balconies. A bed, couch and other furniture allows a child to get higher and closer to a window.
  2. 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 5 inches.
  3. Every year, many children fall out of open windows with window screens. Window screens will not keep your child from falling.
  4. 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.
  5. For windows that can’t be used for fire escape, install stops that keep a window from opening wider than 4 inches. These can be purchased at a hardware store for about $2. Some new windows come with stops.
  6. Plant grass or shrubbery around your home to soften the impact surface in case of a fall.
  7. Monitor window safety at your child care location and anywhere children visit.

Window guard shopping tips:Window Guard

  • 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, such as Home Depot and Target.

For more information about window guards or child safety, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website at or call the Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety at 253-403-1234.