Windows play a vital role in home safety, serving as a secondary escape route in the event of a fire or other emergency. The Window Safety Task Force of the National Safety Council reminds parents that windows play a vital role, but they can also pose a risk of a fall in the home if other safety measures are not followed. Take a moment to promote window safety awareness among all members of your household. Talk to them about the importance of windows in an emergency as well as the risk of falls from windows. Also, take the time to walk through your home to ensure that areas around all windows are clear of items that can be used as a climbing aid.
When it comes to window safety, there’s no substitute for the adult supervision of children, but there are safety measures that may mitigate risks. Below are some tips from the National Safety Council to help your family understand the important role of windows as an escape as well as their risks. In addition to the information below, click here to view a Window Safety Checklist.
Windows can serve as emergency escape routes.
Every family member should know how to operate the windows used for fire emergencies. Delays in escaping from a fire costs lives and increase injuries. Often, paint, dirt or weathering can seal a window shut.
Make sure your windows open easily from the inside and are not blocked by furniture or other objects.
Remember that security bars, grilles and grates not only keep intruders out, they can also lock you in. The same holds true for window guards. Everyone should always be able to get out through a window without using tools, keys, special knowledge or effort.
Doors serve as the primary exits. Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home or for other emergencies. Determine your family’s emergency escape plan and practice it. Remember that children may have to rely on a window escape in a fire situation. Help them learn to safely use a window in these circumstances.
Avoid placing furniture such as beds, dressers or toy chests under windows in the bedroom of children, as such furniture could impede a swift exit in an emergency, or entice curious kids to climb, and potentially fall, through a window.
Do not install window air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape through the window. Always ensure that you have at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.
Preventing falls from windows is as important as learning how to use one in an emergency.
Unattended children run the greatest risk of falls and injuries, so the best first step is to carefully watch your children as they play. Nothing can substitute for careful supervision.
When youngsters are around, close and lock your windows.
If you need ventilation, open only those windows that they cannot reach. Be sure to keep furniture - or anything children can climb – away from windows. And teach your children not to play near windows.
Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open only those windows a child cannot reach.
Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows or patio doors. Falling through the glass can cause serious injury or result in a fatality.
Keep furniture – or anything that children can climb – away from windows. Children may use such objects as a climbing aid.
Do not rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall.
Install building code-compliant devices designed to limit how far a window will open or window guards with release mechanisms to help prevent a fall.
When young children are in the home, keep their play in the center of the room and away from open windows, doors and balconies.
For greater safety, keep windows closed and locked when not in us.
Never depend on insect screens to prevent falls.
Insect screens are designed to provide ventilation. They will not hold a child’s weight against them.