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April 15, 2005
Warm Weather Warning – Paramedics promote window and balcony safety
  
Toronto EMS Paramedics urge all parents and caregivers to keep window and
balcony safety in mind on this warm weekend.

"It's natural to want to let fresh air into our homes, but remember that an
open window or door to a balcony can be an invitation to serious injury or
death for children," said Dean Shaddock, Coordinator of the Community Medicine
Program at Toronto Emergency Medical Services. "If parents teach their kids
about window and balcony safety, and follow some basic safety tips, it will be
a safer and happier summer for all of us."

Falls from windows and balconies can happen to any child at any time – in an
instant.

Between 1999 and 2004, 42 children in Toronto were treated by paramedics after
falling from a window or balcony. Of those children, 10 died, 14 were
critically injured and 18 suffered less serious injuries. On April 5, a
three-year old girl miraculously survived an eight storey fall from a window,
only because the ground was so damp it broke her fall. Most kids aren’t that
lucky.

Following these safety tips will prevent a child from falling out of a window
or off a balcony:

- Teach your children never to play near open windows or on balconies.
- Do not leave children unattended or unsupervised
- Keep furniture away from windows and balcony railings
- Lock all unopened windows and patio doors
- Install and use window safety devices to limit window opening to 10 cm or 4
inches.
- Do not rely on screens – they keep insects out, not kids in!

To prevent window falls, the Property Standards section of the Toronto
Municipal Code requires installation of safety devices on windows in all
apartments, condos or co-ops with more than 3 units. All windows that do not
lead to a balcony and are located two metres (six feet, six inches) or more
above the ground must be equipped with a safety device to prevent an opening of
more than 100 millimetres (four inches), the amount of space through which a
child can fall. Any window guard device should be releasable in the case of a
fire, in case the window is needed as an emergency exit.

If your windows don’t have safety devices, ask your landlord or homeowner to
install them.

For more information, please contact the Toronto EMS Community Medicine Program
at 416-338-0473 or ems-cmp@toronto.ca.



 

 

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