COLUMBUS, OHIO – When it comes to windows, homeowners need to be vigilant in making sure that children understand the importance of safety. As part of National Window Safety Week, April 7-13, 2013, the experts at Simonton Windows recommend parents of youngsters adopt an extremely cautious attitude with children and the windows in their home.
“Children should be taught at a young age to stay away from windows for their own safety,” says Gary Pember, vice president of marketing for Simonton Windows. “Parents can help safeguard children in the home by keeping furniture (including cribs) and anything else a child can climb on, away from windows. And, if your home has Double Hung windows, open only the top part of the window that children cannot reach, to allow for ventilation.”
Pember cites the freak accident in Spokane, Wash. in March of this year as an example of how parents must always be watchful of children around windows. “A 14-month-old toddler was jumping on a bed and bounced out a half-opened second-story window,” says Pember. “His mother, who leaped behind him and smashed through the window, caught his foot and was able to safely lower him to the grandmother who happened to be on the porch below. This one incident shows us that you can never take too many precautions when there are young children in the home.”
Pember offers these timely tips for window safety in the home:
Tip #1 - Remember the primary purpose of a window screen is to keep insects outside. Never push on screens, as they will not support the weight of a child or family pet.
Tip #2 - Lock windows when not in use to protect against intruders and make it more difficult for curious young children to open windows.
Tip #3 - Do not paint or nail windows shut. Every window in the home that is designed to be opened should be operational in case of an emergency.
Tip #4 - Refrain from nailing or attaching decorative lights to the interior or exterior of window frames.
Tip #5 - Plant shrubs or grass, and place “soft landscaping” like bark or mulch, directly underneath windows to help lessen the impact should someone accidently fall out of a window.
Pember also recommends that homeowners consult their window installers to make certain that their homes have windows with clear openings that meet egress requirements in the living spaces as required by state and local building codes.
“Egress windows provide emergency exits in your home during a fire,” says Pember. “Make sure your home has the proper amount of egress windows in every room used as a bedroom and on any floor or basement level with habitable living space.”
Families with small children should pay special attention to windows and patio doors. Start with practicing home emergency fire drills. Show them the fastest safety route to the outside and make certain children know under what circumstances to use a window to exit a home. Since small children tend to “hide” from fire, make sure they understand how important it is to safely and quickly exit the home should a fire occur.
“If a door is hot to the touch or not safe to exit through during a fire, then both children and adults should exit through an open window,” says Pember. “Unless it is absolutely necessary, do not to break the window glass. Doing so could cause injury. During family safety drills, show children how to operate windows and how to use chain escape ladders that should be kept in all bedrooms located above ground level. Also establish a designated meeting place for the family outside the home.”
For more window safety tips, call 1-800-SIMONTON to request a free copy of the easy-to-read, eight-page booklet, “A few things to think about when thinking about your home.”