In advance of the warmer weather, BC Ambulance Service and BC Children’s Hospital are asking parents of young children to think twice before opening the window. Caregivers should make sure proper safety latches are installed on windows and that climbing hazards are removed from areas near windows and balconies.
Children are curious and will climb on items to look out of windows. Window screens will not keep a child inside, they are designed to keep bugs outside. When opening windows, ensure they are opened no more than 10 cm (4 inches), as a child can fall out of a window only 12 cm wide.
Lock windows at 10 cm to prevent them from being opened wider or install window guards (and know how to open them in the event of a fire). Move furniture away from under windows. Here are more helpful tips about windows and balconies.
Parents and caregivers are also cautioned that window screens do not offer adequate protection. These screens are not strong enough to withstand the weight of a child pushing against them and should never be relied on as a safety measures.
BC Children’s Hospital reports that at least 10 children were taken to hospital as a result of falling out of windows last year, and there have been at least two children injured already this spring.
Safety tips to prevent falls from windows and balconies:
• Talk to children about window and balcony safety.
• Window screens are not strong enough to hold the weight of a child – they keep bugs out, not children in.
• Move furniture and planters away from windows and balcony edges to discourage children from climbing, especially cribs and beds.
• Install and maintain window safety devices – ensure there is a safe release option in case of a house fire.
• Keep windows open 10 centimetres or less – children can fit through a space as small as 12 centimetres.
• Don’t leave children unattended on balconies or in higher floor rooms with open windows.
For more information: www.bcchildrens.ca/KidsTeensFam/ChildSafety/SafeStart/default.htm