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Window and Balcony Safety

With the return of warmer weather The City of Calgary Emergency Medical Services would like to remind parents of an often overlooked hazard in the home. To bring fresh air into your house, or to cool off in hot weather, we naturally think of opening a window. However, open windows can present a serious safety hazard for young children. Every year, Calgary paramedics respond to emergencies in the home where a child has fallen from an open window– often from the second floor.

Children with access to an open window, particularly if they are elevated on something, such as a dresser, are at high risk of sustaining a fall. This could result in serious or even life threatening injuries. It is important to remember: all of these incidents are preventable. Calgary EMS is proud to be a member of the Partners Promoting Window & Balcony Safety–take the time to assess your home for window and balcony hazards and eliminate the risks before a preventable fall occurs.

Windows & Screens
• To prevent access, move furniture such as cribs, beds, stools, and change tables away from windows.
• Keep drapery cords out of reach of children—wrap excess cord around cleats or tie-downs to avoid a choking hazard.
• Teach children never to lean against windows or open screens. It takes very little force to push through an open screen.
• Remember: screens are designed to keep bugs out, NOT to keep children in!

Balconies
• Do not underestimate a child’s ability to climb. Furniture and other items stored on balconies and decks can be used to climb resulting in falls over the railing.
• Consider installing a balcony guard which eliminates access between the vertical bars of a balcony or deck.

Further Prevention
• Children aged one to four are the group at highest risk of suffering a fall from a window or balcony.
• Direct supervision of children is the single most effective way to prevent falls from windows and balconies.
• Consider installing safety devices which limit windows opening to a maximum of 4 inches or 10cm.
• Ensure the safety device can be released quickly so the window can be used for escape in case of fire or other emergency.

Helpful Links

calgary.ca/ems
windowandbalconysafety.ca
safekidscanada.ca

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