Opening your windows now? Be careful if you have young children

Opening your windows now? Be careful if you have young children
Photo courtesy Flickr user nvbr11 (Creative Commons).

PORTLAND, Ore. - Now that the weather is getting nicer, you might be tempted to open up your windows to let in some fresh air.

If you have young children, though, those open windows could prove dangerous, and in some cases fatal, especially if you're on an upper floor.

Every spring and summer, we hear about kids who have fallen out of windows and either hurt themselves or tragically lost their life.

Parents - don't let that happen to your family. Take some time to review the important safety tips and check your home. Here's what Portland Fire & Rescue wants you to remember:

  • Don't leave young children alone - injuries can happen in seconds.
  • Whenever young children are around, close and lock windows. An open window may pose a hazard to an unsupervised child. If you need ventilation, open windows that children can't reach.
  • When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that children cannot reach.
  • Set and enforce rules about keeping children's play away from windows and/or patio doors.
  • Don't rely on insect screens to prevent a fall. Insect screens are designed to provide ventilation while keeping insects out. They will not prevent a child's fall from a window.
  • Keep furniture such as beds - or anything children can climb - away from windows.
  • Children may use such objects as a climbing aid.
  • Never paint or nail windows shut. You must be able to open them to escape in an emergency.
  • Do not install window unit air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape through the window.
  • Always be sure that you have at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.
  • Keep window treatments (blinds, cords, drapes, etc.) away from cribs and playpens and out of children's reach. Children may injure themselves when climbing or be strangled.
  • If young children live in your home, consider installing window guards on windows that are not required for emergency escape or rescue in a fire. Be aware that window guards must have easy release mechanisms so that they do not impede emergency escape and rescue.  Contact Portland Fire & Rescue’s Prevention Division at (503) 823-3700 to determine proper window guard placement.