Child safety – falls from windows
The figures speak for themselves. According, to the Royal Society for the Prevention of accidents (ROSPA), more than 4,000 children under the age of 15 are injured falling from windows each year in the UK.
Although many of these are serious, studies suggests that the majority of children who fall from windows, tend to come away with, although still uncomfortable, what are classed as non-life threatening injuries, when falling from one or two storey heights.
This isn’t to say that these aren’t painful enough, including abrasions, fractures, internal injuries, concussions, intracranial hematomas, and intracranial hemorrhages – certainly enough to spend an afternoon or more in A&E!
It’s when children fall from three storeys or above that things become really serious. US studies, suggest that falls from these heights account for 90 per cent of child-fall fatalities. These also reveal that although the average age of childhood falls from windows is five, it’s pre-school children who are most likely to let their curiosity get the better of them.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, studies suggest that it’s also summer, when windows are most likely to be left open that most falls occur.
At KJM Group, we would always recommend that if you’re purchasing new windows you specify child restrictors, especially if you have a young family. There a simple way to reduce the risk of accidents, allowing you to open up windows for easy ventilation but to limit how far they open, to make sure that childhood curiosity doesn’t lead to disaster.
In new windows there are a number of different options including windows which restrict the hinge in a casement window, or which limit the vertical opening on a sash window. Cable restrictors are a third option, which can be easily retrofitted to existing windows, if you have just moved into a new house and window child safety is a potential issue.
It’s also worth remembering that it’s not just children who fall out of windows. The number of falls from windows involving vulnerable adults is, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), also on the rise. This includes from simple confusion, either as the result of dementia, senility, drink or drug abuse, or mental illness – where windows are seen as a point of exit or ‘escape’ – to self-harm and attempted suicide.
Building regulations consequently place a responsibility on care and social care providers, including hospitals to restrict the opening of windows to 100 mm or less, where those windows are large enough that someone could fall from them. These window restrictors should only be able to be disengaged using a special tool or key.
Building Regulations also place similar responsibilities on other ‘public’ spaces, for example hotels, to restrict window access by limiting its opening.
The other advantage of window restrictors is that they provide an additional layer of security. Although we wouldn’t recommend that you leave windows open on restrictors while you’re out as they can, with enough determination, be forced, they allow you to leave windows open securely, while you’re within your property.
For more information about window child safety, window restrictors or home security, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01264 359355.