National Window Safety Week is recognized the first full week in April to emphasize the importance of practicing year-round window safety. Understanding window safety helps prevent window-related accidents and educate families on the importance of windows and doors in an emergency.
With windows being one of a home’s top five hidden hazards, implementing the following window safety tips can help safeguard your home and protect your family from accidental falls.
Window Safety Tips
Tip #1 – Lock your windows and patio doors when not in use. Properly closed and secured windows protect children and deter intruders.
Tip #2 – Keep furniture or anything children can climb away from windows, and don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce the risk of a fall.
Tip #3 – Understand that window screens are designed to provide fresh air and keep insects out of your home and will not support the weight of a child or family pet.
Tip #4 – Plant shrubs and grass and add “soft landscaping” like mulch under windows to help minimize the impact of an accidental fall.
Tip #5 – Learn the safety features of your windows and doors. Simonton hung and sliding windows have a ventilation latch, which limits the amount a window can be opened to about 4 inches for added safety. Choose the ASTM F2090 compliant window opening control device (WOCD) when available.
Tip #6 – Second-floor windows are a greater risk to children and pets. Double hung windows have two operating sash that allows you to open the top sash for safer ventilation while the bottom sash remains closed.
Tip #7 – Choose heat-strengthened tempered glass that is stronger, more break-resistant and safely breaks into pebbles instead of sharp glass pieces.
Windows are Essential in an Emergency
Understanding the crucial role windows and doors play in an emergency can save lives. Every functional window and door in the home should be operational in the event of an emergency. Never paint or nail windows shut.
Create a fire escape plan with two exits from each room and practice the plan with your family. This would include knowing how to open windows chosen as a way of escape. Make sure everyone understands the different escape routes and alternative ways out if those are blocked by smoke. Always make accommodations for family members with special needs and pets. Finally, establish a designated meeting place for the family outside the home.
When replacing windows, check with local code officials to fully understand emergency escape and rescue (egress) building code requirements. Egress windows are those designated by code to be large enough for you to escape through or rescue workers to enter in emergencies.