Spring into Safety: Tips for Securing Your MHPI Home Windows During the Season of Renewal

Observe Window Safety Year Round

Eight Tips for Window Safety Week

As spring arrives, the Window Safety Task Force in partnership with the National Safety Council and Armed Forces Housing Advocates encourages parents and caregivers to recognize the importance of practicing window safety year-round. Window Safety Week is observed during the first full week of April each year. However, open windows can be dangerous any time of year for young children who are not properly supervised.

Each year, the Window Safety Task Force takes the first week in April to educate about the importance of practicing window safety year-round. AFHA is joining in on the cause, as window safety is close to our hearts, with two families on our team that sadly are part of a club that no one wants to join-window fall families.

Falls from a window can result in serious injury or death and pose an especially dangerous threat for 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.* What's more, according to Karen Jowers at the Military Times, "Fifteen children fell out of windows in privatized housing between 2017 and 2021, the latest year for which the Defense Department had figures. At least three more have fallen this year [2022]. Fortunately, none were killed in the past five years, but some suffered serious injuries. In 2011, however, a child was killed in a fall."

It only takes seconds for a preventable window fall to occur. To avoid these needless tragedies, it is very important for parents and caregivers to take steps to prevent home falls. At AFHA, we always suggest that families approached their MHPI housing company and ask for window guards, or at the least, window locks. For example, Aurora Military Housing in Anchorage has now added window limiters and guards to their self-help portal. Ohana Military Housing in Hawaii provides and installs window safety devices for second story windows by resident request. And according to their most recent resident message, Liberty Military Housing will install WOCDs for sills 25 inches and below. We are appreciative of the efforts to move the needle on window safety, and are hopeful that all housing companies will come to the same conclusion we have-the spirit of Evan's Law calls to install window fall prevention devices-window guards-in all MHPI homes that need them, at no charge, in order to save our children's lives.

To protect children, the Window Safety Task Force at FGIA and AFHA offer the following tips:

  1. Look in your maintenance portal and see if you can request the installation of window guards (we prefer Guardian Angel Window Guards) or an ASTM F2090-compliant window-opening control device.
  2. When young children are around, keep windows closed and locked, weather permitting. We understand your MHPI housing may not have HVAC cooling systems, and families need good ventilation-you have a right to utilize your windows for home cooling.
  3. When opening a window for ventilation, use those located out of a child’s reach when able. We know many MHPI housing units have low window sills, so do your best!
  4. Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent young children from climbing and gaining access to an open window.
  5. Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce potential falls. And don't worry-no shame from the parents here at AFHA and FGIA...we know kids will do what they want as they grow and explore in life!
  6. Notice what kind of screens you have installed-AFHA has recorded most MHPI housing screens are solely insect barriers and not screens that can sustain up to 60 pounds of passive weight, like this Lansing product. In addition, insect screens will not support a child's weight, particularly a toddler or newly walking baby who is "head heavy."
  7. Write to your local elected officials to support Evan's Law-the law that provides instruction for window fall prevention in MHPI housing. Evan's Law needs more robust enforcement and language loopholes closed to ensure the safety of all our children!

If you need help asking your MHPI company for window guards or help to pay for them, feel free to contact us for assistance. Visit www.nsc.org/windowsafetytaskforce and the window safety sections of the FGIA and WDMA websites to learn more. Also, follow the Window Safety Task Force on Twitter and Facebook for more tips and updates on this critical safety issue.

* According to Safe Kids Worldwide’s 2015 Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home

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