With the return of warmer weather, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) would like to remind parents and caregivers of an often-overlooked hazard in the home – access to open windows. Every year, paramedics respond to emergencies where a child has fallen from an open window, often from the second floor. These can be avoided by following safety measures. Take the time to assess potential hazards in your home before a preventable fall occurs.
Windows and Screens
- Prevent access to windows by moving furniture such as cribs, beds, stools, and change tables out from under them.
- Keep drapery cords out of children’s’ reach. Wrap excess cord around cleats, or tie-downs to avoid a choking hazard.
- Remember, screens are not safety devices. They are designed to keep bugs out, not children in.
- Do not underestimate a child’s ability to climb. Furniture and other items stored on balconies and decks can be used to climb resulting in falls over the railing.
- Ensure that your balcony railings are not more than 10 cm (4 inch) apart. This will eliminate access between the vertical bars of a balcony, or deck.
Further Prevention Tips
- Toddlers and preschoolers are at highest risk of falling from a window, or balcony, but it may happen at any age.
- Direct supervision of children is the single most effective way to prevent falls from windows and balconies.
- Install safety devices which limit the distance in which a window be can open to a maximum of 10cm (4 inches).
- Ensure the safety device can be released quickly, so the window can be used for escape in case of emergency.
- Consider purchasing a portable air conditioner, which will enable windows to stay closed and secure.
EMS is proud to be a member of the Partners Promoting Window and Balcony Safety. Take time to assess your home for window and balcony hazards and eliminate the risks before a preventable fall occurs.