It’s warm outside so the windows are open and the balcony beckons. And it’s lovely. But before you create these welcome breezes think about your children and what you ned to do to keep them safe.
Window and Balcony Falls a Summer Risk
BC Children’s Hospital has treated six children who have fallen from windows or balconies so far this year. Last year, a total of 15 children were treated for these same types of falls.
There is a critical need to raise awareness about this danger as we head into the warmer spring and summer months. Every year, we read stories about children falling out of windows. It’s a warm day, the windows are open and the child leans on the screen, which gives way causing the child to tumble to the ground.
Remember that kids are curious and also love to climb. They can be strong enough to push open an unlocked window and they have no concept of the hazard.
Kids start to climb before they can walk. They can pull themselves up on a chair, from there to a table and then they are leaning against the window. Screens are not strong enough to hold a child inside the room.
When kids are looking out the window they are not calmly sitting back taking in the scene. They are leaning forward, pointing to the dog across the street, straining to see what is making a whirring noise. They need good strong protection from the possibility of a fall.
It’s easy to say that it’s a good idea to move any household items or furniture away from windows but kids will find a chair they can push, crawl up on a table or get a small stool so they can look out the window. It’s much safer to make sure with bars, window guards or locks that the windows are strong enough to withstand a child’s curiosity.
“A child’s fall can be devastating for a family. We are urging parents and caregivers to take steps to keep kids safe near windows and on balconies,” said Dr. Genevieve Ernst, trauma medical director at BC Children’s Hospital. “Toddlers are especially vulnerable because they are curious, they love to climb and often don’t recognize when they are putting themselves at risk.”
BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to prevent falls from windows and balconies.
Don’t leave children unattended on balconies or decks. We live on the 18thfloor so this is a very important rule for us. In our home the rule for young ones is that in order to be on the balcony they need to have an adult with them and must have both feet on the floor at all times.
Move furniture and planters – or anything that can be climbed on – away from windows, balcony railings and balcony door handles. Look at the balcony furniture through the eyes of the children.
Lock balcony doors. When our grandchildren spend the night, we are vigilant to ensure that they can’t creep outside while we are sleeping.
Remember, window screens keep bugs out. They don’t keep children in.
Install window guards on windows above the ground level. Fasten windows so that they cannot open more than 10 centimeters wide. Children can fit throughspaces as small as 12 centimetres wide. Just make sure there’s a safety release in case of fire.
Talk to your children about the dangers of opening or playing near windows, particularly on upper floors of the home or in a high-rise dwelling.
If a child has fallen over five feet from a window or balcony and has lost consciousness or is vomiting, this could be the result of a head injury. Call 911 immediately and get them assessed by a health-care provider. Most head injuries require urgent medical attention and the Emergency Department is a good first step to seek treatment.
With the right planning you can enjoy the window views and balcony with the kids.
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
Next time you’re sitting in the doctor’s office, lying on the couch fighting a cold or on transit and wish you had something to read, think about Parenting Today’s digital parenting books.
You can choose from Who’s in Charge Anyway? which talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults. But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Hometalks about raising children to become capable young men and women.Vive la Différencefocuses on specific parenting issues.
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