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As the hot weather arrives, and our windows are open, lets take a few minutes to recognize the importance of practicing window safety.

Many people know the story of Eric Clapton’s son Conor, who at the age of 4, fell 49 stories to his death in New York City in March 1991. A maintenance worker opened a window in the apartment where Conor and his mother were staying on vacation, and Conor accidentally ran right through it.

This tragedy is well known because it involved a public figure, but falls from windows are more common than people might think. According to the Safe Kids Worldwide 2015 Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home, about eight children under age 5 die each year from falling out a window, and more than 3,300 are injured seriously enough to go to the hospital.

Preventable injuries kill more Canadian children than any single disease, and more youth than all other causes combined. Most “accidents” are not accidents at all, but are predictable and preventable events.

Falls are not the only danger a window can pose. Do you adjust your blinds to help regulate the temperature inside your house? Check that blind cords are always well out of reach of children, as cords may pose a strangulation hazard.

Health Canada reports that between 1986 and January 2013, there have been 34 strangulation deaths and 26 near-fatal incidents involving window-covering cords and children under the age of five.

To protect children, the Window Safety Task Force offers the following tips:

  1. When young children are around, keep windows closed and locked.
  2. When opening a window for ventilation, use those located out of a child’s reach.
  3. Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent young children from climbing.
  4. Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce potential falls.
  5. Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.
  6. Use window guards and stops on windows above the first floor.
  7. Supervise children to keep child’s play away from windows, balconies or patio doors.
  8. Teach your child how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency, such as a fire.

*According to Safe Kids Worldwide’s 2015 Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home

Windows let in light and fresh air, and can provide breathtaking views, but they can also be a source of danger to people, especially children, and pets. By practicing a few simple things, we can safely enjoy the nice weather and fresh air this summer!

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Author Michael

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