While it is hard to resist the lure of spring’s warmer temperatures by airing out the house, be sure to watch small children and pets around open windows. One of the most high-profile cases involved rock musician Eric Clapton’s 4-year-old son, Connor, who tragically died in 1991 when he accidentally ran through a large open window and fell 49 stories. It can happen to any child, anytime and anywhere.
In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicated an average of eight children age 5 and under die annually as a result of falling out of windows and 3,300 sustain injuries from window falls.
Children and even pets fall out of open windows more often than people realize. Window screens are supposed to keep out pests and bugs. They aren’t designed to prevent a child or family pet from possibly falling out of an open window. The good news is, there are lots of easy, low-cost precautions you can take to keep you children safe.
For instance, keep windows closed and locked when children are around or, if a window is open, ensure small children cannot reach it. Also, double-hung windows should be only opened at the top, if possible, rather than at the bottom.
Furniture, such as beds and cribs, should be arranged away from windows to discourage children from playing or climbing near windows. Pay special attention to windows near window seats where children may like to play or sit.
According to the “Safe Kids World Wide 2015 Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home,” about 70 percent of parents surveyed said they never used window guards or stops to prevent windows from opening. However, installing these safety devices can provide an extra layer of security against accidental falls.
Coming in a range of sizes and adjustable for width, window guards can be screwed into the sides of window frames and feature bars spaced no more than 4 inches apart. Window stops only allow windows to open 4 inches or less, no matter whether they open from the bottom, top or side.
**If you decide to use window guards or window stops, be sure they can be easily opened by an adult or older child in case of an emergency such as a fire.