windowsafetyIt’s important for door and window manufacturers and dealers to remind homeowners about safety. That’s why every April, the National Safety Council’s Window Safety Task Force sponsors Window Safety Week. This year, it’s running April 5-11.

“Window safety is not only an important issue in our industry but in our daily lives, as proper precautions can help ensure the well-being of young children,” says Rich Walker, president and CEO of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). “AAMA is proud to partner with NSC and other industry organizations to provide education that will keep families safer and aid in the prevention of accidental falls and injuries through windows.”

“While one week is designated as Window Safety Week to raise awareness, we must make sure that there is a concerted, year-round effort to educate parents about the simple steps they can take to prevent child falls,” says Michael O’Brien, president and CEO of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). “WDMA has also worked very hard to ensure that there are appropriate requirements in the national model building codes regarding window fall prevention.”

“Windows are how we check the weather and stream sunlight and breezes into our homes. Plus, windows can save lives as an escape route during emergencies, but they can also be a potential hazard, especially for children,” says Heidi Farmer, Pella corporate public relations manager. “By taking a few extra steps, you can protect your loved ones year-round from falls and other injuries that can happen near windows.”

According to the Safe Kids Worldwide 2015 Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home, about eight children younger than 5 die each year after falling from a window, and more than 3,300 are seriously injured.

To help protect children, the Window Safety Task Force offers these suggestions:

  • Keep an eye on children and keep their play safely away from windows;
  • Keep windows closed and locked when children are present;
  • When opening windows for ventilation, make sure children can’t reach them;
  • For a double-hung window on an upper floor of the home, open the top sash nearest the ceiling for ventilation while keeping the bottom sash closed;
  • Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a fall; they are not designed to withstand the weight of a person;
  • Keep furniture away from windows; it could tempt a curious child to climb and potentially fall;
  • Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture, which could lead to a fall, and
  • If there are young children in the home, install ASTM-approved fall prevention devices on limited-opening hardware, which only allow a window to open a few inches.

The Window Safety Task Force also has general suggestions for window safety in the home in the event of a fire or other emergency:

  • Test windows to make sure they open easily and are not sealed shut by paint, dirt or weathering;
  • If windows can’t be opened quickly and easily, replace them;
  • Keep escape routes free from clutter to speed your escape and to help prevent potential falls; you could be exiting in the dark or through smoke;
  • Practice fire escape routes with everyone in the home;
  • Conduct daytime and nighttime drills (most fires occur at night) and assign someone to assist sound sleepers, young children or those with limited mobility;
  • Keep emergency escape ladders in second- or third-story bedrooms and teach everyone in the home how to use them, and;
  • Examine window hardware and make sure windows lock to help seal out air and moisture and help keep intruders out.

Founded in 1997, the NSC’s Window Safety Task Force is made up of members representing AAMA, WDMA and the Screen Manufacturers Association. They work in cooperation with the National Association of Home Builders and other organizations, as well as manufacturers of doors, windows and screens.

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