Check for hazards and contact a licensed professional for assistance
Windows are our home’s eyes to the world, but they also can pose some hidden hazards, especially for children: Check your home’s windows and get professional assistance if you need help.
PREVENT WINDOW FALLS
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates falls from windows result in an average of eight child deaths per year, with approximately 3,300 children age 5 and younger treated each year in hospital emergency departments. CPSC says you can prevent these accidents by:
- Installing window guards, locks, or stops (window stops go on the side of the window tracks to keep the window from opening more than 4 inches).
- Whenever possible, opening windows from the top, not the bottom.
- Keeping furniture away from windows to limit a child’s access.
- Never depending on screens to keep children from falling out—screens keep bugs out, but won’t keep children in.
CHECK WINDOW COVERINGS
CPSC also has found window coverings with cords to be among the top five hidden home hazards: a decades-long danger resulting in numerous children’s strangulation and death. To prevent these tragedies, the commission recommends:
- Examining all shades and blinds in the home. CPSC recommends the use of cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit. Make sure there are no accessible cords on the front, side, or back of the product.
- Not placing cribs, beds, and furniture close to the windows because children can climb on them and gain access to the cords.
- Making loose cords inaccessible.
- If the window shade has looped bead chains or nylon cords, installing tension devices to keep the cord taut.
CPSC also notes most window blinds sold prior to November 2000 have inner cords (for raising the slats of the blinds) that can be pulled by a child and form a loop that can entangle a child’s neck. The commission says consumers should immediately repair these types of blinds with a free repair kit from the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC): Order a kit by calling (800) 506-4636 or visiting www.windowcoverings.org. But CPSC reminds consumers that WCSC’s retrofit kits do not address the dangling pull-cord hazard associated with many common window blinds.
CONTACT A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL
If you need help implementing any window-safety changes around your home, or any other safety improvements, licensees of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Contractors State License Board (CSLB) can assist. In fact, some CSLB contractor licensees even have specialty state licenses in window coverings. For more information on contracting professionals’ licensure and services, visit www.cslb.ca.gov; to check a professional’s license, visit http://search.dca.ca.gov.
Related Reading: Six Tips to Prevent Furniture and TV Tip-Overs; Specialized Contractor Licenses: Building on Skills