Open windows can be dangerous to children of all ages, but particularly to young children and if the windows are higher than ground level. This is especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we are all being encouraged to increase ventilation.
One child under five is admitted to hospital every day after falling from a building (CAPT)
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) recommends that windows above the ground floor are fitted with restrictors to prevent children falling out. They also recommend that restrictors incorporating a child safely catch are best (as this avoids the complication of having to find keys in an emergency situation).
In addition, the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) states that nationally, one child under five is admitted to hospital every day after falling from a building – often from open windows but also from balconies. They have published the following information in relation to pre-school children:
- They are curious and want to see what’s happening outside but have no real understanding of danger.
- They can take parents by surprise by a sudden breakthrough in their development. You think they don’t climb but, before you know it, they can clamber up on furniture or haul their toy box across the floor and open a window. And accidents can happen very quickly, when your back is turned or you’re distracted for a minute.
- Small children are built differently to adults – their heads are proportionally much bigger than ours, so they have a different centre of gravity. This means that, if they lean out of a window, they may topple out. And when they land, their head takes much of the impact.
Please share this advice with families and organisations such as schools and nurseries who are responsible for young children.