Don't count on screens for window safety
(NC)—People fall out of windows. Tragically, children fall out of windows resulting in serious injuries or death because people expect that their window screens provide adequate protection and safety. They do not.
A window screen is not a safety device and many companies include warnings to this effect on their windows. Screens are only designed to keep insects out of your home. They are not intended or designed as a restraining device to prevent children from falling.
David Mitten, the executive director of Sawdac's Window Wise program explains why a screen is not a safety device: “The metal frames of the screen are generally thin metal. They are good enough to hold the shape of the screen, but will bend with the application of a few pounds of pressure. Even the weight of a small child thrown against it is more than enough to bend a screen frame, and a bent frame will often dislodge from the window. Even if the screen frame doesn't bend enough to dislodge, the mesh is generally held in place by a small gasket or spline that is intended to be removable. Removable means that it can be removed as easily by accidental pressure as by intent, so a child bumping into a screen could result in the unsuspecting fall through the window opening.”
There are measures you can take to improve the safety of your home in regard to windows.
On lower floors, most window manufacturers have optional latching systems that limit the opening of the window, so a toddler would be unlikely to open it wide enough to be able to get through. However, this system does not meet the exact definition of a window safety device, which requires it to withstand 150 lbs of force. There are after-market devices that do meet this criterion for windows at higher elevations.
One that is recommended for a child's room is a steel device known as a window guard. Another method is the use of safety netting. Many of these devices can be purchased at local hardware or building supply outlets. Some may be found on the Internet. Particularly for homes with children, these devices are considered essential safety equipment. Some window companies will help you through their local sources or may even be able to provide you with these types of devices as part of their installation.
For more information please visit www.sawdac.com.
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