Window Safety Week aims to raise awareness of the dangers of window falls and provide tips on how to prevent them.
We’re taking a break from efficiency to focus on window safety week this week. Windows keep you comfortable and beautify your home; if you get efficient ones, they save you money too. But any kind of window also presents some safety concerns that are easy and fast to address.
Window Safety Week in the U.S. takes place the first week of April and has since 1997 because with spring weather comes more open windows – and a few safety issues to manage in order to enjoy that nice breeze. This annual campaign is led by the National Safety Council and the Window Safety Task Force, whose members include representatives of the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA), the Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), and the Screen Manufacturers Association (SMA).
Here’s what they recommend:
- Make sure your windows are easy to open and close because they’re your route to safety in an emergency, such as a fire. For example, windows can often be inadvertently painted shut when your frames get a fresh coating. Here’s a link on how to open a painted-shut window.
- Put soft stuff below them. Roughly 3,300 children a year in the U.S. are hospitalized after falling out of a window, according to research from Nationwide Children’s Hospitals. You can reduce your risk by having something outside, under your windows, that creates a soft landing. That could be a shrub or wood chips, for example. You can double the utility of this precautionary move by planting shrubs large enough to also provide shading on the sunnier sides of your house to help boost your control over the natural light coming through the windows. Read more about shading options in the Understanding Windows section of our site.
- If you have young children, consider keeping your windows locked and placing a sofa, chairs, and other furniture in spots away from windows, so toddlers cannot use them to reach a window.
- Bug screens are great for keeping bugs out but aren’t strong enough to keep kids in.
- Window guards, or window-opening control devices, can be used to limit how far a window can open.
- Use a professional installer. You won’t get the best out of your windows – the efficiency features, the safety features, or any other feature – if they aren’t installed properly. The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance offers a solution: use an FGIA-trained and certified installer. You can find a list of currently accredited options at InstallationMasters.com.
To stay on top of window-safety issues, you can start with the Window Safety Task Force website and follow them on Twitter and Facebook for tips and updates. You can also browse the window safety sections of the FGIA and WDMA websites to learn more.