With spring comes the opportunity to open your windows and get some fresh air flowing through your house. If you live in a climate that has cold winters, getting to open up the windows again can be a nice treat and a sign of spring. National Window Safety Week, recognized from April 5-11, is a time set aside by the National Safety Council to make people aware of safety risks associated with their windows.
There are 4 particular areas where it can be valuable to check up on your windows to make sure your home is as safe and secure as possible.
Prevent Falls- It might not be something that you think about very often, but children fall from windows more often than you might think, resulting in injury and even death. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), eight children under five die and over 3,300 go to the hospital for injuries resulting from a fall from a window. It’s important to make sure children aren’t around open windows, unsupervised, and that they don’t have easy access to a window from furniture, etc. Also remember that screens are not sufficient to prevent falls. You can install limited-opening hardware to windows so they cannot be opened far enough to be a risk. This hardware should be ASTM approved.
Avoid Window Covering Injuries- According to the NSC, a child dies every month from “window cord strangulation.” Dangling cords from blinds or other window coverings are a big no-no. The best choice is to install cordless window coverings but there are also retrofit kits that allow you to make your existing corded coverings safer. The Window Covering Safety Council offers great resources and allows you to order a free retrofit kit.
Promote Escape Opportunities- We’ve focused on many ways that windows can be hazardous, but they are also a lifeline in the case of an emergency such as a home fire. It’s important to include windows as part of a home escape plan and that those windows be accessible (not painted/nail shut, blocked by an air conditioner, etc.). Make sure that you have safe escape ladders in second or third story windows and make sure you know how to use them. You should practice the variety of escape options during the day and night to make sure everyone is familiar with the procedure you’ve developed
Improve Security- Windows can be accessed in an attempted burglary. This is often common because people leave their windows unlocked. If your windows aren’t secure, especially on the ground floor, it’s like you are inviting burglars in. Keeping your doors locked is a good first step. Window sensors are also a great idea. If you invest in monitored home security, a monitoring center will be notified when your window sensors are triggered and they will alert the authorities of a possible burglary. In some homes, a glass break detector is also a practical option that can “hear” when windows are broken during a burglary attempt.