Preventing window falls
Preventing falls out of windows is just as important as learning how to use one in an
emergency. Unattended children run the greatest risk of falls and injuries, so the best first step
is to carefully watch your children as they play. Nothing can substitute for careful supervision.
Do you keep windows shut when children are around?
Keep your windows close and locked when children are around. When opening
windows for ventilation, open windows that a child cannot reach.
Do not rely on insect screens to prevent a fall. Insect screens are designed to provide
ventilation while keeping insects out, not to prevent a child’s fall from a window.
Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows or patio doors.
Falling through the glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.
Is there furniture placed under or near windows in your home?
Keep furniture, or anything children can climb, away from windows. Children may use
such objects as a climbing aid.
Do any windows in your home have guards, security bars, grilles or grates?
If you have young children in your home and are considering installing window guards
or window fall prevention devices, be aware that the windows guards you install must
have a release mechanism so that they can be opened for escape in a fire emergency.
Remember that time is critical when escaping a fire.
Consult your local fire department or building code official to determine proper window
What kind of surface is outside windows in your home to potentially cushion a fall?
The degree of injury sustained from a window fall can be affected by the surface on
which the victim falls. Shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass beneath
windows may less then impact if a fall does occur.
Emergency fire escape plans
While some falls occur from windows, it is important to realize that in the event of a fire, a
window also can save a child's life. This is why windows play a critical role in home safety.
Has your family developed an emergency fire escape plan?
Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. Determine your
family’s emergency escape plan and practice it regularly. In the plan, include two
elements of escape from every room.
Remember that children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them
learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.
Inspect your home’s windows carefully. Is there anything preventing them from being
opened in the case of an emergency?
When performing spring repairs, make sure that your windows are not painted or
Do not install window unit air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape
or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape
through the window. Always be sure that you have at least one window in each
sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.