You've child-proofed your home room-by-room. You've check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. You've covered all electrical outlets and you've even mastered how to install your car seat. But there is one potential hazard you may have missed or underestimated. As cooler weather arrives and people are opening their windows again, be aware of young children who may have access to windows -- and not just in high rise buildings. Many falls occur from modest heights.
- Never rely on window screens to keep children from falling out of windows. A screen is not a safety device. It is designed to keep insects out, not to keep children in.
- Keep furniture such as sofas, beds and dressers away from windows. This will discourage children from climbing near any windows.
- Keep windows closed and locked when they are not being used.
- When windows are open for ventilation, take advantage of all safety features. If possible, open windows from the top and not the bottom if you have double-hung windows – the kind that can open down from the top as well as up from the bottom.
- Install safety devices such as window guards or window stops to help prevent falls.
- Remind grandparents and other caregivers about window safety.
- Always supervise children and keep their play area (or "home school" area) away from windows.
- If you see that a child has fallen out of a window and is lying on the ground not moving, do not move them. Call 911 and wait for emergency responders.
- Seek medical attention after a window fall, even if your child appears to have no injuries.