Window Guards & Stops - Keep Children Safe

Window guards are an important and often-neglected device for the safety of children, particularly those under 5 years of age.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that each year more than 4,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries received from falling from a window. The CPSC knows of at least 120 window-fall related deaths of children since 1990. Most of the injuries and deaths were to children under the age of 5.

On June 21, 2000 the CPSC announced new safety standards for window guards to help protect children from falls, while ensuring that the guards do not prevent escape from a fire.

MedicineNet.com therefore wishes to share this important child safety information with you. (Although the wording here is largely ours, the information is based on the new safety standards set by the CPSC. -- Editor, MedicineNet.com)

Are window guards hard to install?

No. Window guards can be easily installed in windows. They serve to help prevent a child from falling from the window when it is open.

How do window guards work?

Window guards screw into the sides of the window frame. They need to be screwed securely into the window frame because gurads that are simply spring-loaded can be easily dislodged by a child.

Window guards should also have bars no more than 4 inches (10 cm) apart to keep a child from getting between the bars and falling out the window.

Where can I buy window guards?

Window guards are available at hardware stores and home maintenance and repair stores (such as, for example, Home Depot). The window guards come in different sizes for various size windows. They adjust for width. Guards must now 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.

Window guards generally cost between $10 and $30.

What about window stops?

Window stops are also very useful as a safety device. Some new windows today come with window stops already installed to prevent the windows from opening more than 4 inches (10 cm). (That's the maximum distance permitted between the bars in a window guard.) If your windows don't already have stops, you can easily add them to the window frame.

Where can I get window guards?

Window stops are generally available at the same stores as window guards; hardware stores, Home Depot-type stores, etc.

Window stops generally cost about $2.

What are the new guidelines for buying and maintaining window guards?

The CPSC issued the following guidelines to assist you in the purchase and maintenance of window guards:

  • 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, install window guards but the guards can be permanent ones.
  • Install window guards in the children's bedrooms, the parents' bedroom, and any other rooms where young children spend time.
  • If you are in doubt about whether to put a guard in a particular window, go ahead and install a window guard there. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • In lieu of guards, you can install window stops that permit windows to open no more than 4 inches (10 cm).
  • Whenever possible, open windows from the top, instead of the bottom. It is safer.
  • Do not place furniture under or near a window to avoid giving children a way to climb directly to the window.
  • NEVER depend on screens to keep a child from falling out of a window.

Do you have a particular brand you recommend?

No. Window guards come in different configurations. You should compare features to determine which guards best suit your needs.

Where can I get more information about buying window guards?

You can call the following companies for more information about purchasing window guards:

John Sterling Corporation
(800) 367-5726

LL Building Products
(800) 755-9392

Automatic Specialties
(800) 445-2370

Where can I see a recommended type of window guard?

You can see photographs of a recommended type of window guard and also view a video clip about window guards on the CPSC site at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml00/00126.html


Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2002




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