Window and balcony safety for children

An increasing number of children are admitted to hospital each year, with serious injuries, as a result of falling from windows and balconies. These falls often occur in the child’s own home, over the warmer months when families leave windows and doors to balconies, open both during the day and at night.

Children aged from one to five years are most at risk as they are naturally curious, but lack the ability to recognise danger.

It is important that parents, carers and landlords ensure the safety of their home for children. Since 2013, a number of changes have been made to ensure the safety of children around windows.

Window safety for children

Children can fall out of a window which is open more than 12.5cm, even if a fly screen is present.

To prevent children falling from your windows:

  • All windows which are 2m above ground level should have window locks/latches fitted to stop them opening more than 12.5cm, or guards should be installed to protect the opening.
    • Where possible, open windows from the top.
    • Beds and other furniture should be kept away from windows, so that children cannot climb up to windows.
    • Children should be taught to play away from windows.
    • Children should always be supervised.

Balcony safety for children

  • To prevent children falling from your balcony, We recommend:

  • Balcony balustrades (railings) be at least 1metre high.

  • Any vertical bars in the balustrade are no more than 12.5cm apart (use a ruler to measure).

  • Your balustrade should have no horizontal or near horizontal parts that would allow children to climb.

  • All furniture, pot plants and other climbable objects are kept away from the edge of the balcony.

  • Parents be aware of furniture that is light enough for children to drag to the balcony edge.

  • Children are always supervised.

  • Doors leading to balconies are kept closed so that children cannot gain access to them.

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