Each year, thousands of children across the U.S. fall from windows and suffer serious injuries or death. Falls are most common among toddlers, who are curious and don’t recognize the potential danger. A child can be injured even in a fall from a first-floor window, but the chance of severe injuries or death increases with the height of a fall. Window guards can save children’s lives.
Screens Can’t Keep Kids Safe
Many people believe a screen will prevent a child from falling out a window. That misconception is largely responsible for the high number of accidents. Window screens are designed to keep insects out of a house. A window screen can easily tear or fall out if a small child presses against it.
Window Guards Offer Much Better Protection
Window guards consist of a series of bars, usually made from steel or aluminum, that block a window opening. The bars are spaced 3 ½ to 4 ½ inches apart to prevent a child from squeezing between them. Window guards are available at many hardware and home improvement stores, as well as online. They come in a range of sizes to suit different window types. Window guards can be removed quickly if people need to evacuate the house in an emergency.
Window guards must be screwed tightly into an undamaged window frame. They shouldn’t feel loose if you push or pull on the bars. Even if a window guard only feels loose on one side, it isn’t installed correctly and can’t prevent a fall.
Other Ways to Prevent Accidental Falls
If you have young children, keep beds, couches, tables and any other furniture that a child could climb on away from windows. Make sure there are no objects in the room that a child could stack and climb on to reach a window. If you have double-hung windows that can be opened from both the top and bottom, only open the top pane. If you have not yet installed window guards, don’t leave a child unattended in a room with an open window, even briefly.
Use Window Guards to Protect Your Loved Ones
Windows pose a serious safety risk to young kids, and many parents and caregivers don’t realize the extent of the danger. It only takes a second for a child to fall from a window, and screens offer little or no protection. If you have children, if you’re expecting a baby, or if young kids come to your home to visit, install window guards to prevent accidents.