National Window Safety Week 2017
Every year on the first week in April, a number of institutions and organisations share information and promote awareness for National Window Safety Week. The aim is to educate home owners and organisations on how to ensure windows are being used safely.
Every year, numerous injuries and fatalities occur across the world as a result of falls from windows. Sadly, unattended young children are the age group most at risk from window related accidental falls and injuries. According to Safe Kids World Wide – “Unintentional falls are the number one cause of non-fatal injury for children” and “Window falls occur more frequently in large urban areas and low-income neighbourhoods”.
Window Safety Week occurs coincidentally with spring, the time of year in which we naturally want to open our windows after the long winter to allow much needed fresh air and light into our homes. Hotels, holiday resorts, educational establishments, hospitals, care homes and other organisations also have a responsibility to protect the building’s inhabitants regardless of whether they are children or adults.
Restrictors and Other Safety Devices
Window restrictors are the ideal safety solution for avoiding unnecessary and often tragic accidents, whilst allowing much needed fresh air to circulate. For peace of mind in the home, windows should be fitted with window restrictors or a traditional window lock (with the key kept well out of the sight and reach of children).
With so much variety on the market, choosing a window safety device can be challenging. It is important to ensure your chosen product that is reliable – it should be made by an established company and thoroughly tested to meet safety standards. A high quality product will usually be endorsed by a public authority.
Window Safety Checklist
- The window opening should be restricted to an opening of no greater than 100mm (4inches) or locked
- Children’s play should be kept away from open windows
- Window screens and shutters are not safety devices and will not support the weight of a child
- Furniture, toys, books, plant pots, etc. should be kept away from the window as they may be used as mounts
- IMPORTANT: Window restrictors are not a substitute for adult/care supervision.
Emergency Escape Routes
Windows not only provide us with light, air and a view of the outside world, they are also points of exit from the building in an emergency.
A window is useless in an emergency if it is:
- permanently locked
- fitted with security bars or grates
- blocked or nailed shut
If the window is locked, the key should be located within the same room as the window and any safety devices should be fully functional.
Most fire and rescue services in the UK offer a home visit service (this may also be referred to as a Home Fire Safety Check or Home Fire Risk Assessment) in which your home will be inspected for potential fire risks, advice on how to reduce fire risks as well as devising an escape plan in the case of a fire. For more information see:
Spreading the Word
Social media is an excellent way of sharing resources and promoting awareness for window safety. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter make sharing tips and links with home owners and other organisations incredibly easy.
The following are examples of Tweets and material shared for National Window Safety Week.
8 children under age 5 die each year from falling out a window more than 3,300 are injured seriously #windowsafetyweek— Safe Kids Summit Co (@safekidssummit) April 3, 2017
You can read the latest #WindowSafetyWeek Tweets here.