Nearly 5,000 children in the United States are treated in hospital emergency departments annually for injuries sustained from falling out windows, according to the Safe Kids Worldwide® campaign. Many of those falls occur during spring and summer months as families open windows to let fresh air in but fail to take adequate safety precautions which can lead to accidental falls.
To help raise safety awareness, Pella Corporation has partnered with the National Safety Council, through its Window Safety Task Force, and others in the window and door industry to communicate to consumers about the importance of proper installation, function and use of windows in a home or building.
Pella offers these important tips to help enhance home safety:
- Remember there is no safety substitute for responsible adult supervision around children. Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows, doors and balconies to help prevent an accidental fall or injury.
- For greatest safety, keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open those that a child cannot reach. For example, on double-hung windows which feature two moveable sashes, open the top portion for ventilation and keep the bottom part closed for greater safety.
- Keep furniture such as beds and dressers — or anything children can climb — away from windows to help improve safety in your home. Don’t allow children to jump on beds or sofas, which could lead to accidental falls or injury. Furniture placed under a window can create an enticement to climb and the potential to fall, especially for young children. Furniture placed under a window could also slow your escape from a home in the event of an emergency, such as a fire.
- Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. For greater safety, determine your family’s emergency escape plan and practice it regularly.
- Designate a door as the primary exit and a window as an alternate escape route from each room in your home. Make sure each opens quickly and easily and keep the escape route free from clutter, which could present a tripping or falling hazard, especially in dark or smoky conditions. Remember that children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.
- When performing seasonal repairs or cleaning, make sure your windows and doors are not jammed, painted or nailed shut. You must be able to open them quickly to escape in an emergency. If they don’t, it’s time to consider replacement, because windows and doors can be replaced; lives can’t.
- Windows, which tilt in for cleaning, not only provide greater convenience, but greater potential safety, too. When choosing windows, look for those which can be cleaned from the interior simply by tilting the unit inward, eliminating the need to climb an exterior ladder for window cleaning.
- If you have young children in your home and are considering adding window guards or window fall prevention devices, properly install approved guards that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards, and feature a quick-release mechanism, so they can be opened for escape in an emergency. Consult your local building code official for more information on approved fall prevention devices and proper placement.
- If you live in an area subject to hurricanes, consider impact-resistant glass for windows and patio doors to help provide year-round protection from winds, rain and flying debris. Impact-resistant glass, which cannot be easily penetrated helps protect your home year-round, providing a safe solution.
- If your home features impact-resistant windows or patio doors designed to withstand hurricane-force winds, train your family members to first attempt to open the window to exit through it in an emergency, rather than trying to break the glass. Impact-resistant glass cannot be easily penetrated, so it’s important to acquaint everyone in your household with how to open units, or designate other exits if the unit is fixed in place and does not open.
- For added protection, choose blinds and shades with no room-side cords; window treatments with traditional cords can contribute to childhood injuries. One option is Pella’s Designer Series® collection of windows and patio doors, which feature blinds or shades protected between panes of glass. The cordless operation of the collection and protection of window treatments between glass helps keep children and pets safer in the home. Designer Series windows and doors are also beneficial for those with allergies and asthma; units featuring blinds protected between panes of glass can significantly reduce indoor airborne allergens. Recent research found that windows with traditional room-side blinds collected 200 times more of certain indoor airborne allergens than the Designer Series products.*
Additional window safety tips are available year-round at: www.nsc.org.
*Based on data from research conducted by the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health at The University of Iowa.