Unless you live in a cave your house will have windows. If you do live in a cave, then you should be protecting your family from bears rather than reading this guide. Windows are a problem, they attract your child by offering an awesome view of all the amazing things going on outside the house. With all the excitement of the outside, your little one may very well be putting its life in danger.
The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study on children and window falls over a 19 year period. Over 5,000 children fell from windows each year. Window falls are common, better get baby proofing. Before we get started, let us take a look at the common types of windows that need baby proofing.
Common Types of windows
Before we get started, let us take a look at the common types of windows that need baby proofing.
Hung windows come in either single or double hung variety. Only the bottom window will slide open on single hung windows. On double hung, both the top and bottom windows can open.
Baby proofing options: Window Stop Window Guard
As the name suggests, sliding windows slide open and closed on the horizontal axis.
Baby proofing options: Charley Bar Window Stop Window Guard
Casement windows are also known as crank windows. They open and close by turning a cranking handle either clockwise or anti-clockwise.
Baby proofing options: Remove crank handles Window Guard
Okay, you have identified which windows you have installed in your house? Good, now let us look at the methods available for you to baby proof them.
Clear the area
Many windows will be high enough that your child cannot easily reach them. With this in mind, you will want to survey the area around each window.
Keep an eye out for the following risks:
- Furniture near the window that can be used as a ladder.
- Light objects that can easily be stacked by your child to form a ladder.
- Objects that, when thrown, are capable of breaking a window (marbles and the like).
Now that you have Identified the risks near your window you now need to set about removing them. Reorganize each room so that all furniture is as far away from windows as possible and remove and stackable or heavy, throwable objects. Make sure you do this step before you start looking at window baby proofing products you can buy. You may find that some of your windows won’t need baby proofing after completing this step.
Lock those windows
The easiest way to prevent your child from opening a window is by keeping it locked shut. If you are lucky, then your windows have permanent locks already installed. With a child in the house, it is time to start locking. Dig out those window keys and ensure that every window is locked.
If you cannot find the keys you have the option of getting the lock barrels replaced, you can find replacement window lock barrels online or at your local hardware store. Retrofitting window locks can be quite expensive and not worth the bother to most parents. Fortunately, there are ready-made baby proofing products for windows that are quite effective at keeping them shut. Windows which are not often used such as in the bathroom can easily be passed over when securing windows.
To reduce oversight, focus on one room at a time before moving on to the next. Don’t skip a room just because it doesn’t have windows (while your mind is in baby proofing mode you may notice other things that need to be made the child safe).
Baby-proof with window stops
The window wedge is a type of window stop that works on single hung, double hung and sliding windows. As the name suggests, it prevents your child from opening the window by “wedging” it shut.
Cresci Window Wedge
- Colors: As pictured.
- No tools needed.
- Durable plastic.
- Easy install.
Note that the window wedge is a childproofing product only and was not designed as a burglar prevention device. If you want to use a window stop to hold your window open, ensure that the window opening is no wider than four inches. Your child should be unable to fall out of a gap this size.
Baby-proof with window stops
Here is a fantastic way to baby proof sliding windows that not many parents seem to know about. Using a good old Charley bar. A Charley bar works similar to a boom gate. When it is in the up position you can open your sliding window freely. When the Charley bar drops down to the horizontal position it wedges the window closed.
The trick with a Charley bar is to install it upside down. This places the bar high up, out of a child’s reach. Most Charley bars can be cut to size with a hacksaw, making them suitable for baby proofing sliding windows of all sizes.
Strybuc Charley Bar
- Colors: As pictured.
- It can be cut to size.
- Aluminum finish.
- Easy install.
How to baby proof crank windows
Casement or crank windows are surprisingly easy to keep shut with this simple trick. Do you see that little crank that you turn to open the window? If you look closely you will find that you can actually remove the crank handle. You may need to unscrew it or it may pull straight off.
Just be careful not to damage the crank handle with your super mom strength. You will be needing the crank should you need to open the window.
Baby-proof window guards
Okay, so those steps to baby proofing your window are all well and good, but what happens if you want to open your windows to let a cool breeze in? Your house can heat up rapidly in the warmer months. Many parents rely on opening windows to circulate air through the house to cool it down. An open window presents a fall hazard to your child. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on your flyscreen to prevent your child from falling out of the window.
While flyscreens will keep bugs out, they won’t keep your child in and many will pop out or tear with just a small push from your child. So is there a ready-made solution to keep your window open and your child safe in the warmer months? Yes, by using a simple device known as a window guard.
A window guard is essentially a series of bars set apart in fixed widths. The gaps in these bars are smaller than four inches to prevent your child from falling through. A popular window guard choice among parents is the Guardian Angel Window Guard, made here in the USA. They have a size to suit just about every window. Check out the short video below for more information.
How to baby proof unusual windows
If you have made it this far and are thinking “Another baby proofing guide with nothing in it for my weird windows”. Don’t worry, I have not forgotten about you. Here is a DIY baby proofing trick that should work for just about every window out there. You will need:
- Measuring tape
- Velcro strip.
- Lexan sheet.
- Measure the space across your window frame. Write it down.
- Measure the vertical of your window, write it down. Pick a point that you feel will be high enough to keep your child safe. Many parents stick with half the window height.
- Purchase your Lexan sheet, you may need it to be cut to length using your measurements.
- Attach velcro to the sides of the Lexan sheet and the hooks to the window frame using glue
- You now have a sturdy child-proof window cover that still allows light through.
- Optional: Drill holes in Lexan to allow for airflow. Be sure research how to drill through plastic first.
- Optional 2: Instead of velcro, screw the Lexan sheet to the window frame for a more permanent solution. Drill pilot holes first.
While you can easily substitute Lexan sheet for plexiglass, I recommend using Lexan sheet as it doesn’t break or chip as easily is more flexible. You can pick Lexan sheet up for a reasonable price on Amazon. Just remember to select your desired size.
Protective window film
It’s all well and good to have your window secured but if your little one breaks the glass itself, then there is a risk of serious injury. Tempered glass will break into small granular chunks rather than jagged shards and is considered much safer than regular glass. Here are some tricks you can use to tell if your windows contain tempered glass.
If your windows are not tempered glass, you will need to take them into consideration when baby proofing. If you have low windows where your little child constantly plays then you could try attaching a protective film to the window. A protective film will ensure that rather than the glass shattering into jagged shards all over your little one, it will come off in a single large piece.
Glass Window Film
- Colors: Clear.
- Blocks UV Rays.
- Prevents shattering.
- It can be cut to size.
Baby proof the window sill
In all your hurry to baby proof the window, you may have overlooked that piece of wood sticking out just below it, the window sill. If have a low window check the edges. If they form a harsh point then you do not want your child to fall into the window sill and knock its head.
You can soften up harsh edges by using the same corner cushions that are used on coffee tables. Not only can window sills hurt to fall into, they are great fun for little children to climb on. As well as forming a comfortable perch for little feet, window sills also reward your child with a view through the window of the outside.
A window sill is a dangerous place for any child to stand on. A fall through the window is a parent’s worst nightmare. Falling into the room is not going to be much fun either. There is no good reason for your child to be playing on the window sill.
If you followed this guide through you already should have removed any furniture that could assist your little one in reaching the window sill. Some parents put uncomfortable objects such as carpet tack strips on the window sill to discourage children from climbing. I personally think this is disgusting.
Baby proofing the house with objects that cause pain? No thank you. Here is where I tell you the bad news. Short of restricting your child’s access to a room with the right baby gate, there are some household objects that you simply can’t baby proof. The window sill is one and you are going to have to teach your child to act in a safe manner around it.
Let your little one know what is unacceptable
If you don’t want your children playing on the windows, tell them not to. A simple step in baby proofing windows (and anything else that is dangerous to children) is to reprimand your child for unacceptable behavior.
Before you simply lose it and look like a crazy momma, there is actually a process you should follow. Rather than reprimanding, think of it as coaching. You are teaching your child to do the right thing, to win the game that is life. Keep the following in mind when coaching your child.
- Raise your voice: But only a little. When you are coaching your child, make sure you use a different tone. You want your child to associate this tone with disapproval.
- Tell them why: Explain to your child why they shouldn’t do that. For windows “I don’t want you playing on the windows because you could fall“. Be sure to explain it each time your coach your child. This helps children understand that there is a reason you do not want them acting in such a manner.
- Be consistent: Coach your children every time you catch them performing the unacceptable behavior. Get your partner in on it too. Its no good only one of you enforcing rules and not the other. You are a team!
You may need to coach your child more than once by do not get discouraged, but there is nothing more satisfying than watching your little ones do the right thing on all their own. And that brings me to the end of yet another baby proofing guide. I would love to hear how you keep your children safe around windows. Let me know below.