Children see the world’s wonder before they may see its danger. By following a few basic safety tips, you can help prevent injuries. Windows do wonders to enhance our lives. They let in views, sunlight, and breezes. But, they can do more than bring the beauty of nature indoors — they can also save lives. Windows are important rescue or exit points from the home in case of an emergency, such as a fire.
For this reason, and many others, it is important to place an emphasis on window safety by looking at all the ways in which we use windows in our homes. Window safety education is essential for both children and adults. As parents and family members, we have the greatest stake in our children’s safety. Andersen Corporation believes that companies that make products for the home can also help increase safety awareness in the home.
The Screen Manufacturers Association (SMA) has suggested that its members place a warning label on insect screens to remind consumers that these screens are not designed to keep children from falling out of windows. Andersen Corporation and their screen supplier have supported this effort by sharing their warning label design with the SMA and others in the building industry.
Please help us spread the window safety message. Share this with family, friends, and others in your community — especially those who have to care for young children.
Window Safety for Children
- Learn to recognize hazards and prevent injuries. What looks “normal” to an adult may be deadly to a child.
- Don’t leave young children alone — injuries can happen in seconds.
- Whenever young children are around, close and lock windows. An open window may pose a hazard to an unsupervised child. If you need ventilation, open windows that children can’t reach.
- Position beds and other furniture away from windows. Children can quickly climb to window ledges or sills and fall.
- Don’t depend on insect screens to keep children from falling out of windows. They are designed to provide ventilation and to keep insects out. They will not prevent a child’s fall.
- Keep window treatments (blinds, cords, drapes, etc.) away from cribs and playpens and out of children’s reach. Children may injure themselves when climbing or be strangled.
- If young children live in your home, consider installing window guards on windows that are not required for emergency escape or rescue in a fire. Be aware that window guards must have easy release mechanisms so that they do not impede emergency escape and rescue. Consult your local fire department to determine proper window guard placement.
Window & Patio Door Safety for Everyone
- Specify safety glazing, such as tempered glass, as an extra precaution for windows. Building codes require that all patio doors have safety glazing. Upon impact, this glass breaks into small chunks, rather than sharp pieces.
- Keep patio doors and screens locked to keep young children from venturing outside to unknown dangers.
- If patio doors have access to a swimming pool, install a four-sided fence around your pool. The house should not be one of the four sides. The fence should be five feet high and have a self-closing and self-latching gate. Consider equipping your patio door with an alarm that sounds immediately after the door and its screen, if present, are opened. Consult the local building requirements in your area. In many states, alarms of this type are required.
- Consider window placement when landscaping your home. Plant shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass beneath windows to provide a cushion in the event of a fall. The surface can greatly affect the degree of injury sustained from a fall.
- Keep children’s play away from windows and patio doors. Falling through the glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.
Fire Safety Tips
- The majority of fatal fires occur at night while people are asleep. Smoke inhalation and toxic fumes are the leading cause of death in a fire. Install smoke detectors in each sleeping room and on each level of your home. Test each unit monthly and replace batteries as instructed by the manufacturer.
- Develop a family escape plan and make sure family members know how to escape from the home in an emergency. Practice it so each member of the family understands it and is able to escape without assistance. Remember, you may not be able to reach children during a fire emergency. Teach children — even very young children — that they must escape from a fire in the home and never hide from the fire or from emergency personnel.
- In your plan, include two ways to escape from every room in case one way is blocked by fire or smoke. In most cases, a window or a door is an alternate means of escape or rescue.
- Windows save lives, for this reason, they should be accessible to everyone in the event of a fire or other emergency.
- Window guards, window locks, security bars, and grates can help to protect your family from falls and intruders, but these safety devices may also hinder or prevent escape or rescue in the event of a fire or other emergency. Where devices of these types are installed, check the local building requirements in your area to make sure they satisfy emergency escape and rescue requirements for removal or release.
- Don’t apply energy-efficient films and coverings to windows designated in your family emergency plan as exit or rescue windows. They may make an emergency escape through a window more difficult.
Maintenance and Security Tips
The likelihood of injury is greatly increased when windows and patio doors are poorly maintained or in need of repair.
- Don’t forget about window safety when making repairs to the interior or exterior of your home. Do not stand on sofas or beds or place ladders and scaffolding against windows or patio doors when making repairs. Make sure ladders are placed on level surfaces to avoid falling against the glass.
- Don’t paint, nail, or weather-strip windows shut. You must be able to open them in an emergency. Remove and replace any cracked or broken glass as quickly and safely as possible.
- Many injuries occur when broken glass is mishandled during repairs. If making the repair yourself, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for unpacking and safe installation of the replacement piece or unit. Wear gloves when handling broken glass.
- Repair broken sash, sash locks, balances, and operating parts as soon as possible. Without these parts in proper working order, injuries can occur during operation, and escape, in the event of an emergency, could be difficult or impossible.
- As a security precaution, keep windows and doors closed and locked to discourage intruders. An open window can be an invitation to theft.
Make Your Home Safer
Consult your local health, fire, and police departments regarding general home safety, fire, and security tips.
In the event of an emergency, would the windows in your home make an escape or rescue more or less difficult? If your windows are old, non-operational, painted closed, broken, or difficult to open, then perhaps you should consider replacement windows. By making the investment in high-quality replacement windows, you are also purchasing the peace of mind of knowing that your family is as safe as possible in the event of a disaster.
At Hometown, our initial consultation includes an in-home assessment of your current situation and recommends products that are perfect for you. If you have been considering replacing the windows in your home, then we’d love to help you make an informed decision. We offer several series of quality Andersen Windows, both Full Frame and Insert models, and can recommend the product and installation process that is just right for your specific situation.
Information provided from Andersen Corporation’s “Look Out for Kids” Program.
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