Window Safety New Release

April 21, 2008

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With warmer weather, health officials urge parents to check window safety

April 20-26, is National Window Safety Week

Falls from windows account for an estimated 12 deaths and 4,000 injuries among children under 10 years of age every year in the U.S. In Minnesota, between 1993 and 2007, there were at least 193 serious injuries from unintentional window falls, with 19 being fatal. Of these, 151 were among children under 10 years of age, with four fatalities.

“Warmer weather and National Window Safety Week remind us how important it is to check our homes for window safety,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Sanne Magnan. “There are simple steps we can all take to prevent injuries and deaths from tragic window falls.”

Commissioner Magnan urges Minnesotans, especially parents and child caregivers, to follow these recommendations:

  • Do not rely on insect screens to keep children from falling out of windows. They are neither designed nor intended to keep children from falling out of windows.
  • Keep furniture – or anything children can use to climb – away from windows. Children may use such objects to climb to an open window and potentially fall.
  • Provide careful supervision of children. Careful supervision greatly reduces the risk of falls and injuries, so watch children as they play.
  • Consult your local fire department or building code official for more information about the proper use of window guards.
  • Be aware that the window guards or window fall prevention devices must have a release mechanism so that they can be opened for escape in a fire emergency.
  • Include windows in home emergency escape plans. Be sure to identify all doors and windows that can be used. Make sure they open easily, and keep escape routes free from clutter.
  • Develop and practice an emergency escape plan in the event that fire or smoke blocks the primary exit. Children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire, so help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.

Michael Fischer, director of advocacy for the Window & Door Manufacturers Association and a member of the National Safety Council’s Window Safety Task Force, reminds parents to think about window safety.

“Many window falls happen in spring when windows are opened to let in spring breezes,” Fischer said. “Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out and not to keep children in. Whenever small children are present, it is important to keep windows closed.”

For more information about window safety, see the National Safety Council Window Safety Web page, at: http://www.nsc.org/safety_home/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/Pages/WindowSafety.aspx.

-MDH-


For more information, contact:

John Stieger
MDH Communications
651-201-4998