Childproofing Windows and Preventing Accidental Falls

Mother and baby boy looking out window
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Preventing falls from windows is important. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission's Window Safety Tips For National Window Safety Week 2018 estimates falls from windows result in an average of about eight deaths annually of children 5 years old or younger. Approximately 3,300 children ages 5 and younger are treated each year in U.S. hospital emergency departments.

Additionally, a 2011 study in Pediatrics concluded that falls from windows "are an important pediatric public health problem, and increased prevention efforts are needed, including development and evaluation of innovative prevention programs."

Childproofing Your Windows

Fortunately, you have options to prevent accidental falls from windows, including:

  • A window guard or gate - Bars that are installed on the bottom part of a window to keep a child from falling out when the window is open.
  • A window stop or wedge - Window opening control devices that prevent a window from opening more than 4 inches.

The main downside to using a window stop or wedge is that you will have to leave the windows mostly shut.

A window guard or gate offers the added benefit that you can open the windows and still not have to worry about your child falling through them. Many window guards have emergency release buttons so that they can be quickly removed in case of a fire.

Consider a combination of the two childproofing methods, installing window guards on a few windows that you often open for ventilation, and locks or wedges on the other windows that you usually keep closed.

Window Safety to Prevent Falls

To keep your children safe, in addition to childproofing your windows, you should also:

  • Not allow your children to roughhouse around windows, even if they are closed, since they can be hurt if they fall through the glass of a closed window
  • Not rely on screens to keep your kids from falling—kids often push out screens on their way out the window
  • Install windows that can open from the top, instead of the bottom, if possible
  • Keep furniture away from windows so that your children aren't tempted to climb on them
  • Use non-corded window blinds to prevent strangulation hazards
  • Remember that even falls from one story windows can cause injuries
  • Consider installing landscaping under windows that might cushion a fall

Also keep in mind that if you are installing a window guard, if you are below the 6th floor, you should install one that can be easily opened by adults and older children in case of a fire. If you are on the 7th floor or above, you can install a permanent window guard.

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  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Window safety tips for National Window Safety Week 2018. Published April 2, 2018.

  2. Harris VA, Rochette LM, Smith GA. Pediatric injuries attributable to falls from windows in the United States in 1990-2008Pediatrics. 2011;128(3):455-462. doi:10.1542/peds.2010-2687

  3. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Parents, caregivers should consider safety before opening windows. Published April 8, 2011.

  4. National Fire Protection Association. Security Bar Safety. Published 2019.

  5. Onders B, Kim EH, Chounthirath T, Hodges NL, Smith GA. Pediatric injuries related to window blinds, shades, and cords. Pediatrics. 2018;141(1):e20172359. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-2359