Window screens are great for keeping bugs out of your house.
They aren’t strong enough to keep children in.
Every spring and summer, when the weather warms enough to leave windows open, toddlers and young children are injured in falls that could be prevented. A child pushing against a window screen can easily displace it and tumble out.
Unintentional falls are the No. 1 cause of non-fatal injuries for children, particularly preschool-age and younger, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Most of those falls happen at home.
There are easy, inexpensive ways to prevent falls from windows:
- Install window guards and stops. A window guard is like a child safety gate for a window. Make sure older children and adults in the family know how to open the guard in case of a fire or other emergency that requires evacuation. A window stop is a small device that prevents windows from opening more than a few inches – wide enough for a breeze, but not wide enough for a toddler to fit through.
- Keep furniture such as cribs, chairs or toy chests away from windows. Little kids love to climb. Don’t make the window a climbing destination.
- Talk to your children about safety. Teach older kids not to leave windows open around younger siblings and to keep an eye out for their siblings’ safety. Try to teach younger children to ask an adult to go outside, rather than attempting to get out a door or window on their own.
- If your window can open from both the top and bottom, get in the habit of opening just the top. However, a window stop is still a good idea because as kids get older they can reach the top window, too.
- Close and lock windows when not in use. Even a partially open window can be tempting for children. If there’s no reason to have the window open, close and lock it. This is a good habit to get into for home safety, as well, so windows are locked when you leave your home.
Learn more about fall safety and injury prevention at www.safekids.org/falls.