Childproofing your home can be a big job. It seems like virtually every little thing in your home can potentially be dangerous to a baby or a young child. As you look around your home for things to secure, you’ll probably start by doing some of the obvious things: putting gates on doorways that lead to stairs, securing TVs and bookshelves to walls, putting locks on cabinets, and getting covers for your electrical outlets. But as you try to make your home as safe as possible for your child, don’t overlook your windows.
Thousands of children are rushed to the hospital every year after falling out of a window. Young children are naturally very curious about the world around them so it’s understandable that they might want to take a look at what’s going on outside. But when children are very young, they don’t realize how dangerous a window can potentially be. Here’s what you can do to make your windows childproof.
Window Locks and Stops
If the windows in your home have locks on them, keep them locked as often as possible. If your windows don’t already have locks on them, you should be able to find window locks at your local hardware store. If you’re planning to get new vinyl replacement windows installed in your home, be sure to look for windows that have locking mechanisms already in them.
Don’t want to keep your windows locked all the time? Another option you might want to consider are window stops. When installed, these will prevent your windows from opening widely enough for a child to fit through.
Many parents make the mistake of thinking that having screens on their windows makes their windows childproof. But the reality is that many of the children who fall out of windows fall out of windows that had screens on them. For more security, you’ll want to install window guards. Window guards are bars that go over windows to prevent children from climbing or falling out of them, so you can have your windows open on warm days without losing security. Just make sure you choose window guards that have an emergency release so they can easily be removed in the event of an emergency.
Window films aren’t strong enough to stop a child from falling out of a window, but they can still help protect your child. Shatter-proof window films will prevent glass from flying all over the place if the pane gets broken, perhaps by your child learning the hard way that it’s not a good idea to bang on the glass or throw things inside the house. Best of all, window films are very inexpensive, easy to install, and can be cut to fit any size of window. If you have windows that are low to the ground and easily accessible to a child, picking up some window films could be very worthwhile.
Secure Cords on Window Coverings
The cords that we use to operate blinds and curtains can pose a strangulation hazard for young kids. If your blinds or curtains came with kits to secure the cords, make sure you use them. If your window coverings didn’t come with a kit to secure the cords, the Window Covering Safety Council website has tips for retrofitting window coverings. Or, better yet, you may want to replace your window coverings with cordless versions.
Check Areas Around Your Windows
Anyone who has ever spent time around young kids knows how resourceful they can be when they decide they really want to reach something. They’ll grab anything nearby that can help them reach what they want and they’re too young to realize how unsafe this can be. Look around the areas near windows for anything that a child could easily use to stand on to see out a window.