Hidden danger in family homes

By Shane Shallow

Thousands of young children are injured needlessly every year because of an often overlooked danger in many family homes. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) estimates that 4,000 children under 15 are hurt – and several are killed – each year through falling from windows.

The recent death of a four-year-old boy in Glasgow after he fell 60ft from a window in a block of flats tragically brings home the awful reality of such a danger. Slowly but surely, people are starting to sit up and take notice of the hidden risk of unrestricted windows in their homes but it often takes a tragedy such as this to spur them into action. The need to restrict the opening of windows is starting to be recognised by policy makers all over the world.

Safety first
In Abu Dhabi, legislation was passed last year to restrict all windows and other openings in residential buildings to 100mm, following a number of children dying after falling from windows in the city’s high-rise tower blocks over the previous 12 months. In May this year, building regulations were introduced in Australia which ensure windows in newly built homes are fitted with locks restricting how far they can be opened.

Think about it!
Everyone needs to play their part in protecting their adventurous young toddlers from the preventable dangers arising from their natural instinct to explore the world around them. And, everybody needs to raise awareness among their friends and families, so tragedies such as the one in Glasgow become a thing of the past. A few ways to do this are:

  • Visit the RoSPA website for more information on statistics, literature, videos and helpful links to websites, as well as tips and advice on how to keep your children safe from accidents in the home www.rospa.com/
  • Fit window restrictors on all windows at or above first floor level
  • Ensure that all adults in your house know how to use them, and encourage family members who live in other houses, to use them too
  • Keep the key for the window restrictor out of reach from children
  • Ensure that you know how to bypass the restrictor in case of fire

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About the author

Emma Wells is the director of Jackloc, a family-run company which supplies its unique restrictors – which can be fitted to old or new windows and doors – all over the UK and as far afield as Russia, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Singapore and Malaysia.

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Picture: Shutterstock

 

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