Per a 2011 study published in Pediatrics (the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics), there were close to 100,000 children treated in emergency rooms across the nation for window falls. Most of these falls came from 2nd and 3rd story windows; which resulted in 1000’s of broken bones and many serious head injuries.
These types of falls can be prevented by careful planning on the part of the parent or homeowner.
Window Falls Decreased by Moving Furniture
The easiest thing you can do to prevent window falls is to remove anything that can be climbed on. This means moving couches, shelves, chairs, tables and anything else away from the window. By not putting anything in front of the window, you have removed an object that a child could use to climb on that puts them at the same level as the window.
The most important things to move away from a window are beds, especially bunk beds. Not only do these bring the child up to the level of the window, they can also be jumped on and rolled off of, sending the child out the window.
Preventing Window Falls with Guards
In many larger cities, like New York, it is illegal not to have guards installed on your windows if you have children living in your apartment. Window grates are actually not a bad idea for those living in houses either, regardless of how many levels the home has.
A window guard is a device that is installed in the lower portion of the window. It is made of bars that are space just far apart enough that they will not allow anything over 5 inches through them. On the top of the window is a stop that prevents the window from being able to be opened any higher than where the guard stops.
The nice thing about window guards, are that they allow you to have your windows open for the fresh air and be able to keep furniture by your windows; without having to worry about window falls.
Window Falls Stopped by Control Devices
If you don’t want to install a whole window guard in your window, there are alternatives. One alternative is to install an opening control device. This device is installed on both the right and left side of a double-hung window to prevent the window from being opened more than 4 inches.
The best thing about these types of devices is that you aren’t stuck with only being able to open the window 4 inches forever. You can release the device if you ever need to open the window higher, or need to escape through the window; making it actually much safer than the permanent window guards that also prevent window falls.