Window and balcony safety for kids

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The risk of a child falling from a window or balcony is very real, with one Australian child a week on average being taken to hospital due to a fall from a windowi. Being aware of how to prevent the common mistakes can assist you in protecting your kids.

The consequences of falls from a window or balcony can be very severe. According to the Children's Hospital Westmead, 80 per cent of children that have fallen from a window suffered serious injuries . Children who are between one and five years old are most at risk since they are curious but can't recognise the danger posed by open windows and unsafe balconiesii.

Protect your children from falls by being aware of the danger posed by windows and balconies.

Common mistakes

Injuries from falls are not necessarily associated with great heights. 40 per cent of fatal falls of children younger than 15 were from a height of less than three feet, so it's crucial for parents to avoid the following common mistakesiii.

New building regulations for window safety

Building authorities are also changing regulations to improve building safety to protect children from the risk of a fall. The Australian Building Codes Board ruled in 2012 that all windows in all new houses or flats, that are more than two metres off the ground must have window locks that stop the window being opened more than 12.5cm or reinforced screens to prevent children from fallingi,v. These regulation changes were included in the National Construction Code from May 1, 2013v. Existing regulation includes a minimum floor-to-sill height of effectively 86.5cm for any openable window that is more than four metres from the groundi.

Minimise the risk

In order to protect your child from falls and serious injuries, it is recommended to follow some basic safety measures:

Always supervise your children when near windows and balconies.

Following a few simple safety steps and being aware of the risks that windows and balconies can pose to younger children may become especially important in summer. During the hot months of the year, you may be more inclined to open windows and leave balcony doors open to catch a breeze, which may be risky if you take your eyes off your little ones for only a minute.

iBoyd, C 2012, 'New rules to protect kids in high-rises', Domain, 3 February, viewed 10 March 2014,

iiThe Children's Hospital at Westmead 2013, Kids Don't Fly: Window and Balcony Safety for Children, viewed 10 March 2014,

iiiThe Children's Hospital at Westmead 2011, Safety Fact Sheet: Balconies, Balustrades and Stairs, viewed 10 March 2014,

ivThe Children's Hospital at Westmead 2011, Safety Fact Sheet: Falls from Windows, viewed 10 March 2014,

vBuilding Products News 2014, New requirements for window safety, viewed 10 March 2014,