10/01/2007
Reduce Hidden Dangers in the Home

Tips to keep windows safe for small children

OCTOBER 2007:  As parents attempt to reduce the risk of home accidents for children, they need to remember that dangers lurk in even the least expected places.  However, most of the accidents that occur in the home are preventable.  Proactive parents can play a critical role in avoiding these accidents by closely examining their own home for potential dangers. 

One home danger that parents often overlook or treat lightly is the windows.  From falls to strangulation, window treatments and the window itself can pose serious threats to children from infants to adolescents. 

Here are four window safety tips that can help to protect your children:

Install Windows With the Latches on Top.
If the window latch is out of your child’s reach, you can eliminate the risk of the child opening the window and falling out, or even the danger of getting caught between the window and the window sill.  Consider installing new windows in children’s rooms if you have windows with latches at the bottom of the window—within reach of children.  Installing windows with the latch on top can deter children from opening the window and exposing themselves to even more safety hazards.

Follow the “Four Inch” Rule.
Follow the four-inch rule means installing window stops that allow windows to open no more than four inches. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child’s head cannot typically fit through an opening in the window four inches or less.  In addition to stops, you can use window guards to prevent children from falling out of the window.  Screens are made to keep bugs out – NOT to keep small children in.  They are also designed to pop out for fire safety, and the weight of a toddler can easily push through the screen.  Using window guards or window stops--available at most home improvement stores--can help prevent a small child from falling through a frail window screen. 

Install Cordless Window Coverings in Bedrooms and Play Areas.
A little-known and often over-looked danger in many homes is corded mini blinds.  According to Parents for Window Blind Safety™ (PFWBS), since 1991, more than 175 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords – and an estimated 89 children have died from strangulation in window covering cords since 2000, the year the “safety kits” were distributed by the window blind industry.  PFWBS also says that many of the recorded deaths were on windows which used “safety kits” provided by the manufacturer of the corded window treatment.

PFWBS™ reviews products and gives them a stamp of approval once they meet the non-profit’s standards for safety.  Sunburst Shutters, a national interior shutter company, is the first shutter company to receive this approval.  Interior shutters are truly the only window covering that is completely cordless (compared to mini blinds, shades, curtains, etc). In addition, it is physically impossible for a child to fit into the space between each louver of the Sunburst Shutter – while mini-blinds can often trap children and get them tangled in the inner cords, even when the cords have been tied up with safety kits.

Never Place a Crib, Playpen, or Bed Near a Window.
Even if you have followed all of the above safety precautions, keeping children completely away from windows will further prevent window-related accidents.  Place the crib, table and other furniture away from any windows in the room, preferably against another wall.  Children like to climb and explore, and by keeping the furniture away from the windows you are also keeping them away from the many dangers that windows present.  Whether it is falls or accidents from window treatments, keeping the dangers out of reach will reduce the risk. Most reports of accidental window-cord strangulations involve window cords within reach of an infant’s crib or playpen.  Don’t take any chances!

It is important to note that there are no infallible solutions to child proofing your home’s windows and window treatments.  Most in-home accidents occur when children play alone or with another young child in an upstairs bedroom when the parent is in another room.  Supervision is vital in the prevention of in-home accidents and tragedies.

For more information on Sunburst Shutters and window safety visit www.sunburstshutters.com or www.windowblindskillchildren.org.

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Sunburst Shutters & Window Fashions offers a variety of window treatments, including its signature product, the Polywood Shutter®.  Customers are invited to visit the Sunburst showroom at 6480 W. Flamingo, Suite D, call 367-1600, or visit www.sunburstshutters.com.  Sunburst offers a complimentary in-home design consultation can now boast the best customer service in town.

About Sunburst Shutters & Window Fashions
Sunburst Shutters & Window Fashions is headquartered in Las Vegas and has retail stores and dealers in approximately 75 cities across the country.  It has been in business for over 30 years and has sold more than six million shutters.  In addition to shutters, the company offers a full line of window treatments, including blinds, shades, draperies and window films.

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