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Spring Is Prime Time to Consider Window Safety

Friday, April 20, 2007

Before opening windows this spring, consider safety precautions to prevent falls.

Airing out the house from a winter’s worth of stale air may be top on the mind this week, but safety should be a higher concern. Every year, about 4,000 children fall out of windows, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – 10 of those children die.

April 22 to 28 is National Window Safety Week, and Injury Free Coalition for Kids at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong is taking that opportunity to remind parents or anyone with children in their home that windows without guards (safety bars screwed into the window frame) or stops (hardware installed to keep the window from opening too far) should be closed when children are present.

“Insect screens are not effective at stopping a child from falling out a window,” said Anne Brayer, M.D., co-director of the Rochester chapter of Injury Free and a pediatrician in Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department. “The last thing you want to do on a beautiful spring day is race to the hospital with your child. Keep them safe by taking precautions.”

Brayer gave several tips for parents:

·    Windows should be opened at the top whenever possible

·    If older windows must be opened at the bottom, open them only four inches (about the size of a CD) and install stops to prevent the windows from opening any farther

·    Or install window guards that open in case of emergency

·    Avoid shades and blinds with looped cords or get free retrofitting supplies from

“Ideally, we’d like parents to keep windows closed, but as the weather warms up, houses can get awfully hot without air conditioning. And a lot of older homes in Rochester don’t have windows that open from the top, so we urge parents to take precautions and install guards or stops,” Brayer said.

Parents should also beware the strangulation hazard posed by blind and shade cords. Install newer window coverings with no loose cords or keep them tied up and out of reach, Brayer said. Also, in older homes with the potential for hidden lead paint hazards, keep windows wiped down to prevent ingestion of lead paint dust created from opening and closing windows.

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