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Window Safety for Babies and Toddlers

by Shelley Frost

An average of eight children age 5 and younger die each year due to falls from windows, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Another 3,300 kids in that same age group require treatment in the ER. To reduce the risk of serious injury or death in your family, childproof around the windows in your home and teach your young child window safety.

Window Safety Devices

A window open as little as five inches is a potential danger to not only babies and toddlers but any child under 10, according to the National Safety Council. The screen itself is not strong enough to hold even young children. If your baby or toddler leans against the screen, he may fall right through to the ground below. Window safety devices make that dangerous open space inaccessible to little ones. Special window stops, which are sometimes built into the window, keep a window from opening more than a few inches. You still get fresh air without a large gap. Window guards that attach to the window frame offer another safety net. Bars go across the window with gaps four inches or smaller. The guards have a special release for an escape during a fire.

Furniture Placement

Toddlers often climb on anything that stands still. Placing furniture underneath a window gives him easy access to the opening. Always place a crib or bed on a wall without a window. Avoid placing a toy box, dresser, chest of drawers or bookshelf under the window, too, as your young child could scale it and fall out the window. You'll want to also limit your child's access to movable furniture like a step stool or rocking-chair ottoman -- your toddler could slide the item to the window to get a better view, only to fall out an open window.

Window Use

The way you use windows affects the safety of your infant or toddler. Keep all windows locked when not in use. Even a young child may have the strength to slide open an unlocked window. Some double-hung windows allow you to open from the top rather than the bottom. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using this feature when possible so the window opening is higher than your child can reach.

Education

Your little one may not fully understand, but you can still start window safety education at an early age. Get your tot in the habit of playing in areas away from the windows. Parents need to supervise babies and toddlers during play, especially with open windows in the room. If you see your toddler climbing near the windows or pushing on the screen, use the situation as a teachable moment to reinforce window safety.

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