Unintentional falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children in the U.S. While some of these accidents were the result of climbing on furniture or falling down stairs, others happened when children leaned into a screen thinking it would hold them. Fatal falls are not common, but about 12 children under the age of 10 die each year as a result of falling from a window. Even one death is too many, especially when falls are so preventable. Thankfully, there are simple, practical steps you can take to childproof your windows. Here are three tips for keeping kids safe around windows in your home
#1– Install a WOCD
WOCD stands for Window Opening Control Device and Windsor Windows has been offering them on our venting window products for years. WOCD’s prevent window falls by limiting how wide your windows can open. These little devices are so subtle, you’ll hardly be able to tell they’re there, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your child won’t be able to open the window high enough to crawl, fall or careen out. They come in an array of finishes and can be installed into new or retrofitted windows. The best part about sash limiters is that they are easy for an adult to disengage when necessary, such as in a fire emergency.
#2 –Consider the layout of the room
The way furniture is arranged in the room could affect window safety. Reposition any furniture children could climb to get to an open window — not only could it cause a fall out of a window, the furniture itself could tip if not secured to the wall. Also, if you have a large window near a heavy play area, consider applying safety film to the glass. It won’t prevent shattering, but if a stray toy (or foot) happened to go through the window, the film will stop large, jagged pieces of glass from harming your children.
#3 –Install window attachments to prevent falls
- Sash Limiters. The best way to prevent window falls is to limit how wide the windows are able to open. That’s why Windsor Windows offers mechanisms called Window Opening Control Devices, or WOCDs. WOCDs — ours are called Sash Limiters — limit how far our windows can open while remaining unobtrusive and not detracting from the look of your window. They are also easy for an adult to disengage if an emergency exit is needed. Sash Limiters, which are available in a variety of finishes to match your windows, can be included with new construction or retrofitted to Windsor windows that have already been installed. Talk to a product specialist at Modern Group for more information about WOCDs and if they are available for your product.
- Mesh Window Guards. These guards are a protective mesh that fit inside a window frame, covering the lower half of the window to prevent kids from opening the window or even playing too close to it. They can be installed on single-hung, double-hung, and sliding windows.
Metal Window Guards. Metal window guards are installed vertically or horizontally over the operating sash. Bars are placed every four inches to prevent children from getting through.
#4– Don’t Forget to Allow for Emergency Escapes
It’s important to remember that childproofing your windows involves more than keeping kids in. The safety method that you install to keep children from accidentally falling out of a window must also allow them to escape in case of an emergency. These tips will help you prevent injuries and allow escape when necessary.
- Don’t paint or nail your windows closed.
- Make sure you know how to remove whatever WOCD you install.
- Keep emergency escape ladders handy near second- or third-story windows.
- Don’t install an air conditioning unit in the window of a room that only has one window. Remember to leave a path open for escape.
Window Safety Week is a perfect time to talk with your children about window safety. Explain the danger of playing near an open window and remind them that screens won’t keep them safe. If you’d like help childproofing your windows, give Modern Group a call today. Our experienced professionals are skilled in helping you childproof your windows without taking away from your enjoyment of the wonderful spring weather—or the views of it provided by your windows!
-Article content courtesy of Windsor Windows