Letting a little fresh air into your home is undoubtedly pleasant, but be aware that open windows pose great risk for accidental falls, which can result in serious injury or death to young children.
Remember, window screens were made to keep bugs out, not superhero wannabes in.
Recently, within a two-month period, four children between ages 1 and 6 were treated by the trauma team at Norton Children’s Hospital. All had been injured by falling from a window at home.
“Carefully consider the placement of furniture in every room, and every floor of your home,” said Erika Janes, R.N., coordinator of Safe Kids Louisville, a program led by the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital. “Anything can become a stepping stone up and out of a window, followed by a trip to the hospital.”
Kids are quick. They are curious. They like to run and climb. It takes only a split second for a child to tumble through a window screen and suffer serious or life-threatening injuries.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, window falls happen to more than 5,000 children each year. You can help keep your kids safe by following these tips from the National Safety Council:
Window safety tips
- In homes with children, install window guards on all second-story or higher windows.
- Use window stops to prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches.
- Window screens are not designed to stop a child from falling. A normal window screen is not strong enough to keep children safe.
- Purchase window guards that have a quick-release mechanism. This allows an adult to open the window in case of a fire emergency.
- Install locks on sliding windows to prevent children from opening them.
- Move all furniture away from windows. Children can climb on furniture to access windows that are otherwise out of reach.
- Create soft landing surfaces such as bushes or plant beds under windows to help prevent serious injuries in case of a fall.
- Do not allow children to play on fire escapes, roofs or balconies.
- Make sure that older children understand the dangers of climbing out of or jumping from windows.
- Young children should never be left at home unsupervised.
National Window Safety Week is observed each year during the first full week of April, but window falls occur all year long. The greatest danger is in the spring, summer and fall. Be sure to share these safety tips with grandparents and anyone else who provides care for young children.
Learn more about preventing falls. For a variety of health and safety resources, visit NortonChildrens.com.