Spring is finally upon us! After being closed up all winter, homeowners are anxious to throw open their windows to let in the fresh spring breezes. While you air out your home, window safety may not even cross your mind. But your windows play an important role in the safety of your home and its occupants.
A star's tragedy has helped bring awareness to the importance of window safety. In 1991, the four-year-old son of rock guitarist Eric Clapton fell from the 53rd story window of an apartment building in Manhattan. A maintenance worker opened a 6’x4’ window in the apartment where Clapton's son, Conor, was staying with his mother. Conor ran across the room and fell out the window.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), about eight children under five years old die each year from falling out a window, and more than 3,300 are seriously injured and hospitalized. "It only takes seconds for a preventable window fall to occur," said Amy Artuso, program manager at NSC. "To avoid these needless tragedies, it is very important for parents and caregivers to take steps to prevent home falls."
Just check out some of the stats and helpful tips on our "Window to Safety" infographic
Here are some tips to help protect children around windows:
- Avoid placing furniture near windows that young children can climb on.
- Do not lean on screens or rely on them to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.
- Supervise children to prevent them from playing near windows, balconies or patio doors. If a child must be left unattended, be sure to close and lock all windows.
- Teach your children how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency.
- Windows with tempered safety glass help with glass breakage. It is five times stronger than regular glass, and when broken it shatters into small blocks of glass.
- To ventilate a room, slide open the top sash rather than the bottom sash.
- When cleaning windows, it's safer when the windows tilt in. That way, you don't have to hang out of the window to clean it.
It's an unpleasant thought, but your family may be put in a situation where they have to escape your home through a window, such as a fire that is blocking door exits. It's important to be prepared to safely escape your home in the event of a fire. Make an emergency escape plan and practice it with your entire family on a regular basis, both during daylight and at night. Choose a location outside of your home as the designated meeting place for all family members, such as your mailbox.
While April 3-9 is Window Safety Week, it's important that your family practices window safety throughout the year. Taking precautions to prevent window falls and creating and practicing an emergency escape plan will equip your family to handle any potential dangers