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When the weather is pleasant outside many people open their windows to let the breeze in. While the fresh air feels good, open windows can pose a danger to young children. Each year in the United States, 15 to 20 children under the age of 11 die and nearly 15,000 are injured because of falls from windows.

Children are more likely to be hurt after a fall from a window than from any other type of fall. In fact, one out of every four children is hospitalized as a result of their injury. A study appearing in the September 2011 issue of Pediatrics, found that children four years old and younger account for 65% of child falls and have a higher rate of serious injury resulting in hospitalization or death.

Safety Facts

  • Window falls occur more frequently in large urban areas.

  • Children living in multi-unit buildings have the highest number of window fall incidents.

  • More window falls occur in the spring and summer than other seasons.

  • Falls most frequently occur between noon and early evening, the most common playtime for children.

  • More than 190 children fall from windows each year after gaining access to the window by climbing on furniture placed near the window.

Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to keep children from being injured from a window fall. One important precaution that can be taken is to install window guards and stops. Window guards secure into the sides of a window frame and have bars spaced no more than 4 inches apart. They are sold in different sizes to fit any window. Guards also must allow for quick escape from windows in case of an emergency, while being difficult for young children to open. Window guards should be used in combination with window stops, which prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches above the top bar of the window guard.

Safety Tips

  • Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. If you do open a window for ventilation open ones that are out of the reach of children.

  • Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows. Screens are not designed to prevent falls.

  • Keep furniture, or anything a child can climb, away from windows.

  • Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows.

  • Most window falls occur when children are left alone. There is no substitute for supervision.