Childproofing a home can be a complex process. Not only do you, the parent, have to account for the general risks in your home, but to be able to anticipate potential hazards to someone of your child’s stature, you must also picture the world through his or her eyes.
One of the most common but often dangerous elements in any home with a young child is the windows. Virtually every home has windows in most rooms, and many of these windows are high enough off the ground to be dangerous for small children.
Luckily, proactive window safety measures can keep your child safe and your mind at ease. Start with the following seven fundamental window safety tips.
1. Check the Quality of the Locks
One of your first lines of defense of your child’s safety is the locks integrated into your home’s windows. If you have hung windows or sliding windows, these locks may be sufficient to essentially eliminate the risk of your small child opening the window wide enough to crawl or fall out.
However, broken or weak locks may not hold up, especially as your infant becomes a curious toddler. If the locks on your windows seem flimsy, invest in window stops or charley bars to keep the windows closed securely until you can have a windows and doors expert assess the locks.
2. Consider a Window Safety Apparatus
If you live in an apartment, multiple story home or a home with outdated windows, you may need to supplement the safety measures found on the windows themselves. Safety bars fit onto most standard-size windows and can effectively prevent a child from falling.
If you rent your current home, consider investing in window bars that sit inside the room in the window frame rather than attaching to the building exterior. These bars will require fewer fasteners and will, therefore, create less frame damage when removed.
3. Limit Toys That Can Be Easily Thrown
While many of the window-related child dangers come from fall hazards, broken glass can be equally scary for you and your child. As your child begins to play more independently and develop the muscle strength for throwing, pay attention to the toys you provide.
Heavy toys that are easily thrown are the most likely to break windows. Common toys in this category include marbles, baseballs and weighted blocks.
4. Opt for Reinforced Glass Options
If you have older windows as mentioned in section two, window glass replacement or whole window replacement can be an important safeguard. Discuss your glass pane material options with an expert. A reinforced option may be ideal for your growing family.
If you don’t have the budget to upgrade all your windows, consider placing shatter-resistant film on the panes instead. This window film makes it less likely that your child will break a window and less likely that he or she will sustain an injury if a window does break.
5. Provide Supervision
Until your child is old enough to understand and practice good window safety, he or she should be supervised when near windows. Supervision is particularly important near upper floor windows and windows installed at heights accessible to your child.
In addition to keeping an eye out for your child, be smart in how you operate your windows. Experts recommend opening windows no more than four inches in rooms where children could potentially access the sill. Use a window stop or a charley bar to prevent anyone from opening the pane further.
6. Rearrange the Furniture
Many young children begin exploring their surroundings by climbing on furniture. At this developmental stage, the windows that were too high up to pose a threat before now become a significant hazard.
Do not place easy-to-climb furniture beneath the windows in your home, especially in your child’s bedroom or in any playrooms where your child might spend unsupervised time. You should also be aware of items that your child could stack on top of each other to climb.
7. Switch to Cordless Window Treatments
In addition to glass-related concerns, window treatments can also pose a strangulation hazard. This issue is so prevalent that in the United States every month one child passes away due to this type of accident and another is hospitalized for near strangulation.
These cords become particularly dangerous when paired with poorly placed furniture because a child could lose his or her footing and become caught in the cord.
Experts recommend changing out your window treatments for cordless options until your child is no longer at risk.
Use these guidelines to protect your child from the potential hazards surrounding your home’s windows so that both of you can enjoy the view and the natural sunlight without fear.
If you have questions about the safety of your home’s windows, discuss your pane type, window type and window placement with the professionals at Ken Caryl Glass, Inc.
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