The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today new safety standards for window guards that will help parents protect their children from window falls. The industry standards developed at the urging of CPSC ensure that guards are strong enough to prevent falls and that those for single family homes and the lower floors of apartment buildings can be opened easily for escape in the event of a fire.
CPSC estimates that about 12 children 10 years old and younger die each year, and more than 4,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for window fall-related injuries. CPSC knows of 120 window-fall related deaths to children since 1990. Most of the deaths and injuries are to children under the age of 5.
Window guards can be easily installed in windows to prevent a child from falling if the window is open.
"Whether you live in a high rise or a single family home, a window guard can help prevent a tragedy," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Don't depend on a screen alone to keep children safe."
Window guards screw into the side of a window frame and have bars no more than 4 inches apart. They are sold in different sizes for various size windows and adjust for width. Guards must meet requirements for spacing and strength and those that allow for escape in case of emergencies must be difficult for very young children to open.
Consumers can also purchase window stops which can be added to the window frame to prevent the window from opening more than 4 inches. Some new windows come with window stops already installed.
CPSC guidelines for preventing window falls are:
- Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of windows. (For windows on the 6th floor and below, install window guards that adults and older children can open easily in case of fire. For windows on the 7th floor and above, permanent window guards can be installed)
- Guards should be installed in children's bedrooms, parents' bedroom, and other rooms where young children spend time.
- Or, install window stops that permit windows to open no more than 4 inches.
- Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows.
- Whenever possible, open windows from the top - not the bottom.
- Keep furniture away from windows, to discourage children from climbing near windows.
Consumers should look for guards that have bars no more than 4 inches apart.
They can call the following companies for more information about purchasing window guards:
John Sterling Corporation
LL Building Products
Window guards are priced between $10 and $30 and have different configurations. Consumers should compare features to determine which guards best suit their needs. Window stops available at hardware stores cost about $2.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
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