Close Out Danger and Open the Window to Home Safety

Brittni Henderson, Senior Clinical Research Assistant

Each year, 3.5 million children are treated in emergency departments across the country for injuries in their homes, based on a report from Safe Kids Worldwide. Sadly, many of those incidents could have been prevented.

Of the millions of injuries among children annually, 3,300 of those are a result of unsafe windows and doors. These injuries were caused by falls from windows that were not locked or protected in another manner. If children are able to gain access to an open or unlocked window, they risk the chance of falling from a substantial height. On average, eight children aged five and under die from falling out of windows that weren’t properly protected each year. Dangling window shade cords are also a cause of harm to children, as approximately one child each month dies from strangulation.

Protecting children

There are many ways that homes can be made safer for children.

Window locks and guards are two of the easiest ways to protect a child from a fall through a window. Although these items are effective in keeping children safe, 70 percent of parents surveyed in Safe Kids’ 2015 report admitted to never using a window guard in their home.

Along with window guards and/or locks, here are more ways to protect children:

  • Lock all unopened windows and doors.
  • Keep furniture, or other items that children can climb, away from windows.
  • If possible, open windows from the top instead of the bottom.
  • Never depend on screens. They’re designed to keep bugs out, not children in.
  • Determine a fire escape plan in the home. If this includes a window, ensure that the window lock/guard in place can be quickly and easily removed by an adult when necessary.
  • Always supervise children, regardless of how many other safety measures are in place in your home.

For more information about keeping children safe, visit our Injury Prevention Center page and  Safe Kids Worldwide.