A CALL FOR CHANGE. An increasing number of children are admitted to hospital each year as a result of falling from windows and balconies. These falls are often in their own home and can result in death or serious injury.
SOURCE | NSW Health | Kids Health, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
Kids Don’t Fly
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
Information Available in 11 Different Languages
The Kids Don’t Fly publications provide parents and carers with tips on some simple ways to increase window and balcony safety. Information is provided in 11 different languages and is available from the link below;
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, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead recommends:
- All windows above the ground floor to be opened no more than 12.5cm.
- All windows have locks/latches fitted to stop them opening more than 12.5cm, or guards to protect the opening
- Where possible, open windows from the top.
- Beds and other furniture are kept away from windows, so that children cannot climb up to windows.
- Parents do not rely on flyscreens to prevent a child from falling out of a window.
- Children are taught to play away from windows.
- Children are always supervised.
Balcony Safety for Children
- To prevent children falling from your balcony, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead recommends:
- Balcony balustrades (railings) be at least 1metre high.
- Make sure that 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.
- Keep doors leading to balconies closed so that children cannot gain access to them.
Working Party for the Prevention of Children Falling from Residential Buildings
In 2008, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) identified falls from residential buildings as an increasing cause of injury, often associated with serious and fatal injuries as revealed by the number of injuries with a high Injury Severity Score. As a result, the Centre for Trauma Care, Prevention, Education and Research at CHW, together with the Kids Health Promotion Unit at CHW, established the ‘Working Party for the Prevention of Children Falling from Residential Buildings’.
The full Outcomes Report from the working group and a summary are available via the links below;
INFORMATION SERIES | New Strata Laws for Windows
Please Note – The information contained in this article is general information only and not legal advice. The currency, accuracy and completeness of this article (and its contents) should be checked by obtaining independent legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely upon its contents in any way.