As we wrote in our last blog, thirty five percent of traumatic brain injuries result from falls. Roughly 475,000 children suffered TBI last year. With the warmer weather approaching and the natural tendency to open our windows to get some fresh air, please remember that falls from windows can be extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury and death. However, having operable windows is also vital as an escape route in the event of fire or other emergencies, so sealing windows is not the best solution.
The National Safety Council has released this week safety tips to prevent window falls. Clearly there is no substitute for adult supervision as these accidents can happen in seconds. Here are the safety tips recommended by the National Safety Council:
•Provide extra supervision to children when near windows, balconies or patio doors
•When opening windows for ventilation, only open ones that children cannot access
•Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in–do not rely on them to prevent falls
•Be sure to practice your family’s emergency escape plan at least twice a year, and keep all exits clear of hazards like cords or toys
•If there are children around, make sure to keep all reachable windows closed and locked
•Make sure nothing is blocking or preventing a window from being opened in the case of an emergency
•Install building code-compliant devices such as window guards (with quick-release mechanisms in case of fire)
Some of these suggestions of course seem obvious, but it is all too easy to forget the obvious in our busy lives. If you have younger children, please raise your awareness of these dangers during these warmer months. Tragedy can happen in an instant.