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Window safety

Each spring in Calgary and in Canada, children fall from windows at home. These accidents often result in a 911 call and sometimes hospital admission.

Keep children safe

Working in partnership with a local pediatrician and the National Research Council (NRC), we are requesting changes to the National Building Code. We propose that second storey windows of a new home should have either:

  • a device to restrict the opening, or;
  • the openable portion must be at least 900mm (almost three feet) above the finished floor.

The NRC will make a final decision in May 2019.​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The building code would still require a bedroom egress window for emergencies. In our proposed changes, a second storey window (or higher) can open unrestricted if the window sill is at least 900mm (about 3 feet) above the floor.

image of child looking out window.

What you can do in existing homes

  • Keep windows out of reach. Move furniture such as cribs, beds, stools, and change tables away from windows.
  • Teach children never to lean against windows or open screens. It takes very little force to push through an open screen.
  • Consider installing window opening control devices. They restrict the window opening to four inches. Another option is a device that is like a baby gate for a window.
    • If you are using safety devices in a bedroom window, an adult must be able to quickly remove or disable these devices in an emergency.

Window screens do not prevent falls.​

Window falls happen regularly and cause serious damage

  • In 2016, 175 Alberta children were brought to an emergency department with fall-related injuries from windows and balconies. Twenty were admitted to hospital.
  • In 2016, 23 per cent of major trauma patients at Alberta Children’s Hospital (Calgary) were injured in a fall; 56 per cent were from second floor windows or higher.
  • In Alberta, 28 per cent of children who visit the emergency room after falling from a multi-storey window are admitted and treated for:
    • Skull fractures and brain injuries
    • Cervical spine factures
    • Facial and long bone fractures
    • Spleen or liver lacerations
  • In Canada, 420 children up to nine years old visit the emergency room after a window fall, and 84 require hospitalization.
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