Spring has sprung and as the weather becomes warmer, individuals are turning off their heat, placing screens in their doors and windows welcoming the season’s fresh air and cool breezes. During this time of the year, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue would like to remind residents that screens are designed to let air in and keep bugs out; they are not designed to prevent falls. A child falling from a window is a tragic occurrence that happens all too often as the weather becomes warmer -- 70% of window fall-related deaths occurs during the spring and summer months.
Each year in the U.S., over 5,000 children on average, are injured by falls from windows — that’s 14 children a day. A ten year study, 1990 – 2008, estimated 98,415 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries caused by falls from windows. Children under the age of 5 are among the highest injury rate for window-falls. Reports indicate that many of these children did not fall from a high-rise building but from a first or second-story window home or apartment. Children in this age group don’t recognize the danger that exists when playing near a screened window, their curiosity and focus is elsewhere, i.e. toy, a pet or any number of items that may be within their sight or reach.
April 7th – 11th has been designated as this year’s National Window Safety Week. Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue in conjunction with health and safety organizations/agencies across the U.S. are urging the public to get involved, year round, at home, school and neighborhoods to help reduce unintentional injuries among children. Listed below are window safety tips to keep your little ones safe:
Window Safety Tips
· Keep children away from open windows.
· Install window guards or window stop devices that prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches (educate family members, older children and adults, on how to release window guards in the event of a fire or other
emergency that requires evacuation).
· Keep climbable objects, i.e. furniture, beds, toy chests, etc., away from windows.
· Do not place toys and other inviting objects on window sills.
· Check to make sure porch and balcony railings are spaced 4” apart or less.
· Always provide adult supervision for children around open windows or in risky environments.
It’s important to remember that windows play a vital role in fire safety and should be considered as an alternative exit when planning a home fire escape plan. However, they also pose a threat to young children when left open and unattended. Be proactive in taking the necessary precautions of safely securing windows to ensure your child’s safety.