Keeping children safe around windows and balconies
Window and Balcony Safety
There are possible safety risks to babies and young children in the home from blind and curtain cords, as well as windows and balconies. Each year, around 50 children fall from windows in Australia. Many suffer serious injuries and in some cases these falls can be fatal.
New Window Safety Laws have been introduced to help prevent children falling from residential strata buildings. Strata and Residential Tenancies legislation now require owner corporations to install safety devices on all windows above the ground floor that pose a safety risk to young children. This will allow owners to install devices regardless of the by-laws of the strata scheme and to include window safety devices in the prescribed condition report for rental premises.
Windows can still be able to be opened as normal until the safety lock is engaged. Once the lock is engaged the window will open to a maximum of 12.5 centimeters. Residents will have the security of knowing that when the lock is engaged, children in their care will be protected from a tragic accident.
As of 13 March 2018, owner corporations are required to fit window safety devices. It is crucial they are fitted correctly to be effective in the prevention of possible injury.
The following safety tips can be useful at your home and holiday accommodation to eliminate risks for children suffering serious injuries:
- Install safety devices or fix windows open at no more than 12.5 centimeters and ensure they can only be opened by adults. Fly screens are not a strong enough barrier to prevent a child from falling through a window.
- Keep furniture and other objects away from windows and balconies. Children can climb and stand on them.
- Pay attention to balcony rails and fences and keep children away from edges.
- Lock doors and windows when not in use.
NSW Fair Trading has released a series of videos that show how inexpensive and easy it is for window safety devices to be installed. The safety videos are available at the NSW Fair Trading website.