Window Safety Tips during the Summer Season
The heat of the summer has arrived and that means families are looking for ways to keep cool at home. In 2020, 14 children aged 16 and younger were treated at BC Children's Emergency Department for falls from high elevations, such as windows and balconies. Already this year, eight children have been treated. Mark Estrada, certified window geek at Centra Windows, shared some summer window safety tips.
What can you do to ensure windows are safe and have proper fall protection?
The best and most effective way to ensure a child’s safety is to have newer energy-efficient vinyl windows installed, but this isn’t in everyone’s budget. There are still ways to work with older aluminum framed windows to make sure your children are protected.
The first priority should be to perform a safety check. Always keep windows closed and locked when not in use, and ensure those locks function properly. Keep any items such as furniture or toys away from windows and balconies so they cannot be climbed by your child. This is particularly important. Make sure anything that can be easily moved by them is stored securely or kept in rooms where the windows won’t be open. You should also avoid deep window sills for seating or benching if possible, as these could end up being used by children to sit on and they will be close to the window regularly. If you do have these types of spaces in your home, make sure the windows cannot be easily opened by your children.
There are useful safety items available that parents can install, such as Charley bars, window wedges, stops, and extra locks, all of which easily attach to the window frame to restrict opening. Typically, you want a window to open less than four inches or 10cm. This is enough to let in a nice breeze but should prevent your child from squeezing through. Wireless and smart sensors can also be used to alert parents when windows are opened.
Are there differences to consider when living in a Single Family Home or Multifamily Complex?
There is added freedom to what changes can be made when living in a single family home. For example, you can install awnings or shades to the outside which will block some sun and heat, but this isn’t the case with a strata property. It’s also more difficult to upgrade your windows to new high-performance vinyl ones to keep your home cooler.
If you live in a strata and want to keep your child safe by not having windows open at all times, we would suggest solutions like blackout curtains. Alternatively, if you have windows fronting onto a balcony, consider a shade or screen, or some large plants.
How can homeowners limit the amount of time windows are open during such a hot summer season?
A quick and easy way is to change out old blinds from aluminum to vinyl or cloth. They are insulators and do not heat up as quickly or severely as metal blinds. You should also try to get cool air circulating whenever possible. Take advantage of the cooler morning and evening temperatures, preferably when the children are in bed or are at the very least supervised. It bears repeating: be sure to securely lock any windows that are not in use.
Finally, when you do come to renovating, be sure to opt for high-performance, energy-efficient windows. They aren’t just designed to keep you warm in the winter. Modern glass coatings also deflect summer heat in a highly effective way. This will keep you comfortable, as well as greatly lowering the amount of time you have your windows open and preventing accidents.
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