The Window Safety Task Force, under the National Safety Council’s Community Safety Division, works with the American Architectural Manufacturing Association, Window and Door Manufacturing Association, Screen Manufacturers Association, National Association of Home Builders and other organizations to educate North Americans on the importance of window safety. This group has been presenting materials on this subject since 1997. They know that the leading causes of injury and death in young children are fires and falls.
Besides doors, windows are a secondary escape route in a fire or other emergency. They are designed as points of escape. It is critical that the windows are placed in locations in both homes and businesses where they can provide a safe exit. Families should have a fire escape plan. Children should be taught to get out of a house that is on fire. Hold a family fire drill often, and plan landscaping that can possibly prevent injury if anyone does have to jump or fall from a window.
If you have bars, grills, or other types of security on your windows, they are useless in an emergency, unless they have a functioning release mechanism. You might think you are keeping someone out, but you may be causing yourself to become trapped, and you can’t escape! Never paint or nail windows shut.
When there are young children living or visiting in your home, be sure the windows they may be playing around are locked. If you need ventilation, open taller windows, and never have furniture close to an open window, where they might climb up and fall out. Be sure to watch when they are playing on a patio or around sliding glass doors. A fall through glass could cause serious injuries.
Don’t count on insect screens to catch anything except the bugs! Shortly after we moved into the home where we currently live, we left our sliding glass door open one evening, when our birddog, Lucy, heard something outside and ran through the screen! That was the end of leaving that door open.
We all must understand the importance of safety in the home, and be prepared to escape in the event of fire. Years ago, a home on our block was totally destroyed by fire, resulting in the deaths of three persons. A mother of a four-year old, broke a window in her bedroom to run for help – she couldn’t find her child. Later, the body of the little girl was found under a bed, where she had crawled. If we take the time to be prepared, hopefully, tragedies such as this, can be prevented.
There is more excellent information on this subject at the National Safety Council website. We are all asked to share this information with friends, family, co-workers, and communities, not only through the first week of April, and all of April, but all year long.