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Window & balcony safety

5/16/2018

When a child falls from a window or balcony it can be devastating. 

We see broken limbs, skull fractures and brain injuries that can cause life-long problems for children.  

Children are especially vulnerable to falls because they are curious, they love to climb and often don’t recognize when they are putting themselves at risk. Even small children are capable of pushing open an unlocked window and toddlers, who have a higher centre of gravity, can easily fall headfirst through a window screen if they lean against it.

Tips for parents/guardians/caregivers:

  • Consider installing window and door safety locks which limit how wide they can open.
  • Don’t underestimate a child’s mobility; children begin climbing before they can walk.
  • Move household items away from windows to discourage children from climbing to peer out.
  • Toddlers may use anything as a step stool to get higher.
  • Be aware that window screens will not prevent children from falling through – they keep bugs out, not children in.
  • Install window guards on windows above the ground level. These act as a gate in front of the window.
  • Or, fasten the windows, so that they cannot open more than 10 centimetres (four inches).
  • Children can fit through spaces as small as 12 centimetres (five inches) wide. In either case, ensure there is a safe release option in case of a house fire.
  • Don’t leave children unattended on balconies or decks. Move furniture or planters away from the edges as kids can climb up and over.
  • Talk to your children about the dangers of opening and playing near windows, particularly on upper floors of the home.

Info provided by BC Children’s Hospital and BC Emergency Health Services.

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