With the recent warm weather, it's a good time to remind parents of the dangers that open windows pose to children.
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. In window falls, the most common victims are toddlers who fall out of an open bedroom window with a screen.
To prevent window falls, follow these tips from the Center for Childhood Safety at MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center:
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 5 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 4 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 4 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, such as Home Depot and Target. Call Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety at 253-403-1234 for more information.