Be wary of open windows

One of the best ways to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather after the frigid, snowy winter months is to throw open the windows. While it lets the fresh air in, it also opens up a danger for your child.

It’s important for parents to teach their children to stay away from open windows and never lean on the screen. However, how often have you watched a young child run up to the window to press against the glass? If there is no glass there, that child can easily push through a screen and tumble out the opening.

On average, eight children die every year after falling out a window and more than 3,000 children younger than 10 years old are hurt. Dayton Children’s Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center treats a handful of children a year for falls out of a window, typically from two or three stories high.

“A screen is not a safety device,” says Jessica Saunders, director of Dayton Children’s Center for Health and Wellness. “It’s designed to keep insects out, not to keep children in. Proper safety guards on windows save lives.”

Window guards and stops

A 2015 study by Safe Kids Worldwide found 70 percent of parents have never even considered a window guard or stop. A window guard is normally screwed into the frame in front of the screen with bars no more than four inches apart. Many also have safety releases, in case of fire. They cost $20 or more. A window stop attaches to frame and prevents the window from opening far enough to let a child fall. These cost as little as a few dollars. Dayton Children’s experts recommend these be installed on every window above the first floor.

More tips to consider

Keep windows closed and locked, when possible. If you have double hung windows, consider opening the top pane instead of the bottom. That makes it harder for a child to access the open part of the window. Consider a room refresh and move beds, dressers and tables away from windows. All too often, children climb on these items to access the window.

It’s not just your house

Parents need to check windows at the homes of grandparents and babysitters as well. Remind those caregivers about window safety and provide window guards and stops, if necessary. If you go on vacation, also remember to check hotel windows to see if they open, and if so, how far.

If your child does fall out a window, do not try to move them yourself. Call 911 and let trained medical personnel move the child using the proper precautions to prevent further injury.

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This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital. Email: newsroom@childrensdayton.org.

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