Prevent falls: Babyproof your windows

Child looking outside a window
Photo credit: Pexels

Tragically, thousands of children fall from windows every year around the world. The good news is that these types of accidents can easily be prevented.

What types of windows do you have installed?

The first step to babyproofing your windows is to figure out what kind of windows you have. Each window type uses different opening and closing mechanisms, so you will need to use different babyproofing methods to make them baby-friendly. Here are the most common window types:

Most common window types

Can screens alone protect your baby from falls?

The answer is No. Windows are fitted with screens to allow airflow while keeping dirt and mosquitos out. However, the screens are not strong enough to support your baby weight if your baby falls on them. So, if you’re relying on the screen, better scratch that idea.

How can you babyproof your windows?

There are many options. See what works best for you.

1 Window Locks

The best option is to keep your window locked. If you’re lucky, your window will have locking hardware pre-installed. However, that’s not usually the case, especially in old houses. If this is the case for you, you can purchase window locks from any hardware store or online and have them fitted. There are many types available. The disadvantage is, while locks can be a big help, they also require you to keep the window closed the entire time. So if you want to keep your window open at all, you’ll need a second option as a backup.

2 Window Guards

They are similar to top of stairs baby gates.  They screw into the sides of the window frame and have bars no more than four inches apart (∼10 cm) – the size of a 5-month old’s torso. They can be placed inside or outside of your home depending on how your window opens. It is advisable to put these in “sideways,” so the bars are vertical, to prevent expert climbers from scaling them like a ladder. Window guards usually support all types of windows.

Window guards provide great peace of mind especially if you live on the 30th floor of some high-rise building!  Beware though of the rules and regulations where you live. In certain cities, window guards are a requirement by law. Unlike security bars that are often screwed into the window, making them next to impossible to get off quickly, these are easily removable by an adult. Meaning they are not a safety hazard in case of a fire.

3 Window Stops

There are a couple of different kinds of window stoppers, but they all basically limit the distance a window can open. Hence, this is a great option for opening the windows just a little bit – four inches (10 cm) at most.

Extra tips

1 Move furniture

Move furniture, baskets, and toys away from windows as your baby can use them to climb up and reach the window.

2 Set clear boundaries with your baby

You might have to repeat the message couple of times before it sticks but he must understand that he’s not allowed to play around a window.

3 Apply a transparent safety film

If your window is particularly large, you may want to consider applying a transparent safety film to the glass. The safety film won’t prevent the glass from breaking, but it will contain the broken pieces to keep your baby from getting hurt.

4 Babyproof window cords

If you have blinds, it’s vital to keep the cords (which are strangulation hazards) out of your baby’s reach. Click here for more information on curtain cords.

5 Keep hard and heavy objects out of your baby’s reach

Try to keep hard and heavy objects out of your baby’s reach. If he gets hold of a fireplace tool, it will take only a light tap against the window to break it. Older, single-pane windows are especially breakable.

Did you know that the famous song “Tears in Heaven” was written by the singer Eric Clapton following the death of his four-year-old son who tragically fell out of an open window on the 53rd floor of a New York City high-rise? In the years to come, Eric Clapton helped raise awareness for childproofing windows and staircases.

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