Over 5,000 children fall out of open windows every year in the United States, according to a research report published in the Journal of Pediatrics. That averages to a staggering 15 children per day! Our team at Advanced Window Products know that windows are a necessity for every home and that parents need to know their options regarding window safety. With National Window Safety Week coming up on April 5th, we wanted to help parents ensure their home is safe.
When children are old enough, you’ll be able to teach them the fastest route out of the house in case of emergency and if/when using a window is appropriate. For younger children, it’s all about keeping them away from windows as much as possible. Whether you’re building a new home or renovating a cherished older one, you’ll have a lot of questions regarding window safety. For example:
- Is there a certain type of window that’s best for children?
- What type of glass is the safest?
- Are there any devices that can make windows safer?
- How often should a family have fire drills?
We’ll answer these questions and more in honor of National Window Safety Week.
Window Styles and Locking Mechanisms
Double hung windows are found in many homes. These windows have a top and bottom sash. The top sash can be opened to allow fresh air in, while the bottom sash can remain closed. Most children will not be able to reach the open part of the window even if they do find something to stand on near the window. Make sure the bottom sash is kept locked at all times.
Casement windows are operated by a crank and this crank can easily be removed to prevent children from opening it.
Sliding windows are the easiest to open, as they only need to pushed to the side.
Families have the option to install multi-point locks that will make it hard for children and intruders to open the window. Regardless of what style or locks you have, keep windows locked at all times when they are not in use.
Vinyl Window Guards
A window guard is a simple device you can add to your window to prevent it from being opened any further. A self-adhesive Velcro is attached to the window sash, and the guard will tighten if any pressure is applied. This device also works well to prevent intruders.
Window guards are especially effective for sliding windows. Since these windows don’t have a top portion that can be pulled down and they only need to be pushed to the side to open, they are much easier for small children to operate.
Window Safety Screens
Traditional screens are not meant to prevent children or pets from falling out of a window. The sole purpose of the window screen is to keep insects out, and they are not designed to bear any weight at all. There are, however, child window safety screens. Child safety screens are a cost effective barrier solution, designed specifically for child protection without compromising the look of the window.
Some parents are worried these screens will make their house look like a prison, but the screens look more like a baby gate. The grid-like pattern lets plenty of light in, plus you can find one that has a release mechanism for emergencies.
Falling isn’t the only risk children have near windows. Small children will sometimes throw toys, and it’s possible a child can break a window by throwing something at it. If the window doesn’t have shatterproof components, sharp pieces of glass may cause harm.
Laminated glass will provide the shatter protection you need. If it breaks, the pieces are held together by an inner layer, similar to when a car windshield is cracked and you see a spider web-like pattern.
Another option is to apply a special window film. It works the same way with keeping pieces held together, plus you can purchase UV filtering film if desired. You can apply the film yourself or hire a professional.
Both options are also effective for areas in danger of hurricanes or high winds.
Window Safety Tips
Besides making the windows safer, there are things to do around the home as well.
- Make sure the area below windows is clear. You don’t want any furniture near the window that will provide a small child access to that window. You also want to avoid having objects that are easily stackable nearby.
- For tall windows or sliding glass doors, make sure there are decals or something on the window to prevent a child or pet from running into it.
- Cords for blinds are a strangulation risk for small children, so make sure they’re kept off the ground. Cord tie-ups can be placed with screws or adhesive hooks.
- Put padding on the corners of window sills to prevent nasty bruises from bumping into them.
- Have a family fire drill twice per year. Make sure all children know where to go, and let older children know how they can help. Older children should also be instructed on how to open windows with safety devices on them. If you have emergency window ladders, have adults and older children practice using these ladders.
Remember that no amount of devices or equipment can take the place of supervision. Keep an eye on small children as small times when windows are close by.
Advanced Window Products Utah
If you have any question about window safety or are looking for newer, safer windows, please don’t hesitate to contact Advanced Window Products. National Window Safety Week is April 5 -11, 2015, so take the time to improve the safety of your windows.