When looking into preparing a safe home for children, many things come to mind. You’ve added plugs to the electrical outlets and put up a gate to restrict access to stairs. You’ve put bumpers on sharp corners and child locks on your drawers. But what about your windows? There are certain steps you can take to make your windows and doors safer for your children.
- Close and lock windows and doors
The easiest way to keep children from accidentally falling out of a window or wandering out a door is to keep it closed and locked. If you’re looking for ventilation and safety, opening control devices and window guards can be fitted to most styles of windows. Be sure to consult your local building codes when looking into these products. For patio doors, consider an auxiliary foot lock. These allow patio doors to be opened about 4 inches then securely locks it in place. Locks are also available for patio door screens, however, keep in mind that screens are meant to keep bugs out, not to keep children in.
- Position beds and furniture away from windows
When setting up your rooms, keep beds and furniture away from windows. Little ones are curious about the outside world and rarely see the danger. By keeping furniture away from the windows you minimize the risk of children climbing up and falling out of a window.
- Keep window treatments away from children’s reach
Looped cord window treatments can seriously injure or even kill children who get tangled up in them. The best option is to install newer window treatments that do not use cords or chains. However, if you want to keep your existing treaments, The Window Covering Safety Council has a guide on how to retrofit older window covering to eliminate looped cords. See http://windowcoverings.org/how-to-retrofit/ for this guide.
- Consider your landscaping
As an extra safety measure, consider the landscaping outside of the windows of your home. Planting shrubs and mulch will soften the impact and potentially lessen injuries in the event a child does fall through a window.
- Remember fire safety
Remember that windows are secondary exits in the event of a fire. Never seal, paint, or nail windows that are to be used as an escape route shut. Likewise, don’t apply energy-efficient films and covering to these windows as these could slow rescue efforts.