When warmer weather hits, it’s nice to open the windows and let some fresh air circulate throughout your home.
And although the fresh air is nice, it’s important to remember that open windows are a safety hazard for children.
“Windows are a fall hazard for kids, and the consequences can be severe,” said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “Window screens are a great way to keep bugs out, but not kids in.”
Every year, nearly 15,000 children are injured by falling out of windows in the United States alone. Oftentimes the falls occurred after a child was leaning against a window screen.
One out of every four children is hospitalized after falling out of a window. This is because children are more likely to sustain more serious injuries after falling out of a window than from any other type of fall.
Even though window screens help protect the interior of the home from bugs and other pests, they were designed to easily pop out in case of a fire of other emergency to help people escape. As a result, they don’t provide any support and give way easily with moderate pressure.
So, what’s the best way to keep your children safe from falling out a window? Here are some tips to help you make sure your home is safe:
- Keep windows closed and locked.
- Before opening a window, make sure it is inaccessible to children.
- Keep furniture or anything children can climb on away from windows.
- Teach children only to open windows with permission and help from adults.
- Consider installing window locks, guards, or other safety equipment to prevent children from opening windows too wide — or at all — without help from an adult.
- And remember, don’t rely on window screens to keep your children from falling out of an open window.
Some other tips include keeping rarely used windows locked or closed, and make sure the windows used for ventilation are safe for children – especially if you live in a high-rise or apartment complex with multiple levels. But remember, serious injuries can still occur with falls from one-story and first level homes and apartments. Try a combination of multiple childproofing methods to see what works best for you and your family.
“The best way to keep children safe from window falls is to keep them away from open windows,” Strong said. “There are a number of precautions that can be taken, but it’s important to remember there is no substitute for adult supervision. Most window falls occur when children are alone.”
For more information, visit primarychildrens.org/safety.