Fenestration: Window Safety

Promoting Greater Awareness of Window Safety

by the Window & Door Manufacturers Association

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association is a proud member of the National Safety Council’s Window Safety Task Force, which was formed to promote greater awareness of window safety.  Each year, one week in April is marked as National Window Safety Week; this year it was observed April 5-11, 2020.  The National Safety Council (NSC) would like to provide parents and caretakers with important safety tips that will help protect children year round. 

         As spring arrives, and there is a natural desire to open windows and let in fresh air, please be reminded of these important safety tips to help protect children.  Windows can provide a secondary means of escape during a fire.  For this reason, every family should develop and practice an emergency escape plan in the event that fire or smoke blocks the primary exit.  Children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire, so help them learn to use one under these circumstances.  Include windows in home emergency escape plans.  Be sure to identify all doors and windows that can be used.  Make sure they open easily.  Keep escape routes free from clutter, including toys, furniture, electrical cords, and other potential tripping and falling hazards.  Teach all household members to use windows and doors properly for escape and rescue purposes.

         Keep furniture, or anything else children can use to climb, away from windows.  Children may use such objects to climb to an open window and potentially fall.  Remember that insect screens are intended to keep insects out.  They are neither designed nor intended to keep children from falling out of windows and should not be expected to do so.  When installing window guards or window fall-prevention devices, be aware that the window guards or window fall-prevention devices must have a release mechanism so that they can be opened for escape in a fire emergency.  Select a device that complies with ASTM F2090, which provides minimum requirements for window fall-prevention devices to ensure that they can be easily removed or opened when necessary.  Consult your local fire department or building code official to determine proper window guard placement. 

         Donna Stein Harris, executive director, National Safety Council’s Home and Community Partnerships and Initiatives, explains that as temperatures rise and home fires are increasingly in the headlines across the country, it’s more important than ever for adults to take steps to enhance window safety.  Remember that when it comes to safety, there’s no substitute for adult supervision, so it’s essential to teach children to keep play away from windows, doors, and balconies. 

         Two free printed resources on the topic of window safety are available to order.  Keeping the Promise of Safety brochure provides helpful window safety tips.  Individual brochures may be downloaded from the National Safety Council Web site.  Larger quantities, in quantities of 100, may be ordered from the National Safety Council by contacting NSC Customer Service at (800) 621-7619. 

         Window Safety Information Kit includes the Keeping the Promise of Safety brochure, as well as Window Safety Tip Sheets, Window Safety Checklist, Window Safety Press Release, and Window Safety Activity and Coloring Book.  This kit is available free from the National Safety Council by contacting NSC Customer Service at (800) 621-7619.  These may be ordered in any quantity. 

         The Window Safety Task Force in partnership with National Safety Council was formed in 1997 to promote greater awareness of window safety.  Members include representatives of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, and the Screen Manufacturers Association in cooperation with the National Association of Home Builders and other organizations, as well as leading manufacturers of windows, doors, and screens. 

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