Window Safety Week: Why It Matters to Your Business

April 5th, 2017 by Trey Barrineau

The first week in April is Window Safety Week, and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) hosted a webinar today that offered tips to help door and window companies spread this important message to customers.

AAMA marketing manager Angela Dickson opened the webinar by reminding those listening that falls from windows can cause serious injury or death, and they pose an especially dangerous threat to children. Every year, about eight children under age five die from falling out a window, and more than 3,300 are injured seriously enough to go to the hospital.

Later, she reminded manufacturers and dealers why window safety is important to their businesses. In addition to protecting human life and complying with state and federal laws, it also can foster positive customer interactions with your products and protect your reputation.

Spring is Dangerous

In the spring, many homeowners open their windows for ventilation without proper thought for window safety. For example, because kids often lean on window screens to look outside, many parents think they’re strong enough to keep a child from falling.

Dickson then shared a personal story about how her young son fell off a hot tub at her house and landed head-first on the concrete. They rushed him to the hospital and fortunately he wasn’t seriously injured, but months later he still has a small bump on his forehead.

“My husband and I felt all the emotions,” she said. “That permanent scar is a reminder that we all have to take fall safety seriously.”

Key Advice

Dickson then reminded attendees of eight safety tips from the Window Safety Task Force.

  1. When young children are around, keep windows closed and locked.
  2. When opening a window for ventilation, use those located out of a child’s reach. For example, the upper sash of a double-hung window.
  3. Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent young children from climbing.
  4. Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce potential falls.
  5. Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.
  6. Supervise children to keep child’s play away from windows, balconies or patio doors. Keep play in the center of a room, if possible.
  7. Install code-compliant devices designed to limit how far a window will open or window guards (with quick-release mechanisms in case of fire) to help prevent a fall.
  8. Teach your child how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency, such as a fire.

Window Opening Control Devices

Next, Dickson touched on window opening control devices (WOCD). She said they should meet the ASTM F2090 standard for fall prevention.

There are several key requirements for WOCDs:

  1. The WOCD must automatically limit the distance a sash opens so a four-inch rigid sphere cannot pass through;
  2. The limiter must have the ability to be deliberately disengaged so the sash can be fully opened for egress. But to prevent inadvertent override, it requires one dual-action motion or two independent motions to disengage
  3. The WOCD must automatically reset itself upon closure so that when the window is opened again, it stops just shy of four inches.
  4. The WOCD must not require a tool, key or special knowledge to operate and cannot require more than 15 pounds of force.

Dickson urged listeners to discuss whether ASTM F2090 products would be beneficial for their customers. She also urged them to join the Window Safety Task Force and to promote Window Safety Week in a variety of ways – via company websites, social media and printed material for customers.

Founded in 1997, the National Safety Council’s Window Safety Task Force is composed of members from AAMA, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the Screen Manufacturers Association. They work with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and other organizations, as well as makers of doors, windows and screens.

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