Warm Weather and Window Safety

The recent warm weather is a welcome addition to the start of spring in the Pacific Northwest. Warmer weather also means hot houses and open windows. Annually, over 5,000 children are injured falling out of open windows. The majority of window falls are children who are 2 – 5 years old. According to the University of Washington Medicine, 40 to 50 children are treated at the Pediatric Trauma Center at Harborview with injuries related to window falls during the summer months every year.

Remember, a window screen is strong enough to keep bugs out but not strong enough to keep children in. When screened windows are open, kids may lean or push against the screen, causing it to pop out of the window frame and the child to tumble out after it. Window screens are not child safety devices.

Now is a great time to check the safety of your windows at home. Properly installed window guards stop a window from opening more than 4 inches and prevent unintentional window falls. Window stops allow for a breeze and still ensure windows can’t open wide enough for kids to fall out. If you are above the first floor, don’t forget to include an emergency release device in case of fire

If you have windows that can open from both top and bottom, make a habit of opening just the top to prevent accidental falls. Keep in mind that as kids grow, they may have enough strength and curiosity to open the bottom, so try to keep windows locked and closed when they are not being used.

Keep your bed and furniture away from windows to keep your crawlers and climbers safe. Move chairs, cribs, and other furniture away from windows to discourage direct access. If you have space, make it a rule to play at least 2 feet from windows.

Window falls are not just a problem for those children who live in high rises. Most window falls occur from modest heights. If a fall does happen, call 911. Never move a child who appears to be seriously injured after a fall; let trained medical personnel move the child with proper precautions. Let’s all enjoy the warmer weather safely and help prevent window falls.