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Published on June 02, 2011

Wide Open Danger

June 2, 2011 

Opening windows in your home to enjoy the warmer temperatures may seem harmless, but windows have proven to be sources of injury and death for young children. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about eight deaths occur each year to children five years or younger while an estimated 3,300 children five and younger are treated each year in U.S. hospital emergency departments after falling from a window.

Deaths and injuries frequently occur when kids push themselves against window screens or climb onto furniture located next to an open window. Valley West Community Hospital urges parents and caregivers to think safety before opening windows where young children are present.

"Window falls increase dramatically during the spring and summer months, but they can be prevented," says Cindy Fox RN, MSN, Valley West Emergency department manager.  "It takes active supervision on the part of the parent or caregiver, and a device called a window guard. Screens are meant to keep bugs out, not kids in. Window guards are easy to install and have a release mechanism in the event of an emergency."

To help prevent injuries and tragedies, Valley West recommends the following safety tips:

  • Safeguard your children by using window guards* or window stops**.
  • Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows.
  • Whenever possible, open windows from the top -- not the bottom.
  • Keep furniture away from windows, to discourage children from climbing near windows.
  • Some jurisdictions require landlords to install guards. Check your local regulations.

*Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of windows. (For windows on the 6th floor and below, install window guards that adults and older children can open easily in case of fire.)

**Install window stops so that windows open no more than 4 inches.

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