Industry Marks Window Safety Week

April 2, 2012
Noteworthy

This week is National Window Safety Week. The annual event organized by the National Safety Council and the National Window Safety Task Force is designed to highlight important safety tips to help parents and caretakers prevent child falls through windows while also educating them on the potential use of windows as an emergency egress.

“As you open windows to let in fresh air, keep window safety in mind,” states Kathy Krafka Harkema, a spokesperson for Pella Corp. and a NSC Window Safety Task Force member. “For safety’s sake supervise children at play, and teach them to keep their play safely away from windows and doors.”

“A tragic fall from a window can happen in seconds,” says Donna Stein-Harris, senior director of Safe Communities America for the National Safety Council. “When it comes to window safety, there is no substitute for the importance of adult supervision of children to help keep them safer.”

NSC offers these window safety tips:

  • Keep windows closed and locked when not in use for ventilation
  • Avoid placing furniture that young children can climb on near windows
  • Do not lean on screens or rely on them to prevent a window fall – insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home
  • Supervise children to prevent them from playing near windows, balconies or patio doors
  • Install building code-compliant devices such as window guards (with quick-release mechanisms in case of fire)
  • Create soft landing surfaces (i.e., bushes or plant beds) to help prevent serious injuries in case of a fall
  • Have and practice a family escape plan and teach children how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency
  • When performing spring repairs, make sure windows are not painted or nailed shut as you must be able to open them to escape in an emergency

Pella reports that about 5,200 children in the U.S. are taken to hospitals each year for treatment from a window fall, an average of about 14 children per day. Children younger than 5 years old made up 65 percent of those injured, it notes.

“Kids are naturally curious, so teach them to play it safe by staying safely away from windows. Don’t lean on screens, because insect screens are not designed to keep children or adults from falling,” Krafka Harkema states. “Insect screens simply help keep bugs out; they don’t protect you from accidental falls.”

Atrium Corp. is another manufacturer highlighting Window Safety Week.  As part of its educational efforts, it highlights the importance of warning labels on screens, as well as child fall safety warnings on product literature asking users to take proper precautions. 

"Atrium products touch the lives of millions of people throughout the continent,” states John Matuska, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “From the architects who specify our products, to the distributors and dealers who sell them, to the builders, contractors and do-it-yourselfers who install them, everyone receives a clear message from our warning labels, dedicated website content and company brochures that screens are not weight-bearing and not designed to prevent a child from falling through an open window.”

Window safety resources are available from the Window Safety Task Force web page.  Atrium has a dedicated window safety website page, while Pella's website features a video and other resources.

The Window Safety Task Force, under the NSC Community Safety Division, is comprised of members representing the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, and the Screen Manufacturers Association in cooperation with the National Association of Home Builders and other organizations.