Why are sash window restrictors important?
In the UK:
- More than 6,000 people die as a result of accidents in the home every year.
- 7 million people attend A&E departments seeking treatment each year.
- Falls are accountable for 44% of all children’s accidents.
- Around 27,000 children aged 5-14 are admitted to hospital after a fall.
- 4,000 children under the age of 15 are injured from unsecured windows each year, with 2,000 of these accidents involving children under 5.
- Burglary sits among the top four most popular crimes committed across London.
- Windows are one of the most common entry points during burglaries due to their fragility.
Fitting sash window restrictors could help lower these statistics dramatically.
Window restrictors are put in place to prevent a window opening too wide and are used in several types of buildings. Some establishments such as hospitals, care homes and schools are legally required to have window restrictors installed, primarily to keep the vulnerable people that reside in them safe and protected. When it comes to our homes, restrictors are not required by law, but many people choose to fit them, particularly families with young children who want ultimate peace of mind. In this article, we will be concentrating on how effective window restrictors are within domestic properties both in terms of safety and home security.
Creating a home environment that keeps your family safe and enables family members to grow and thrive is always paramount. Home may be where the heart lies but, it is also where the most accidents happen “every year in the UK more than 6,000 people die in accidents in the home and 2.7 million attend accident and emergency departments seeking treatment” according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). Falls are by far, the most common causes of accidents in the home and shockingly, falls are accountable for 44% of all children’s accidents in the UK, say the RoSPA. The Under 5’s are particularly vulnerable to injury as a result of a home accident, particularly falls. Older children are not exempt either with “around 27,000 children aged 5 – 14 admitted to hospital after a fall” says the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).
Thankfully, although there are a number of serious safety hazards that lurk around the average home, most of these hazards are pretty easy to address, such as fitting a carbon monoxide detector for poison control or a smoke detector for fire safety precautions.
When it comes to ensuring child safety, your windows are one of the easiest fixes of all. In fact, the RoSPA state that 4,000 children under the age of 15 are injured from unsecured windows each year in the UK, with 2,000 of these accidents involving children under 5. To think that the majority of these accidents could be avoided by fitting a simple window restrictor.
How do window restrictors help prevent falls from windows?
Simple, window restrictors prevent a window from opening far enough for a person/child to fall through. There are lots of different types of restrictors depending on the type of window you are fitting them on or whether they are timber of uPVC windows. They are so simple to fit and inexpensive to purchase and provide peace of mind particularly where young children are present or in high rise application generally.
Sash window restrictors
Children are masterminds at taking us by surprise, aren’t they? Their rapid development often sees them learning and doing things much quicker than we imagined they would, climbing up on things and reaching windows for example! Sliding sash windows can be particularly easy for inquisitive children to open, or further open. However, making windows childproof with child safety window restrictors (often called sash window stops) is straightforward. Child safety window restrictors are small bolts that sit at the side of the upper part of your sash window, restricting how far it can open. They are operated using a key for added safety and they are fitted at a height unreachable for young children.
If the sash is raised more than ten centimetres, then the bolts come into action, preventing the sash from being raised any higher. The gap is too small to pose immediate danger to a child and you can unlock the bolts when children are not around if you prefer your windows opened fully – just remember where you hid the window restrictor key!
Sash window locks are also an option, but they only require you to turn and slide to unlock them, and while the windows are heavy and this may be hard, it is not impossible for a child to do it. Whereas a restrictor is completely childproof as it requires a key to open.
Operations Director, Nathan Smith, at Parsons Joinery adds
“Fitting sash window restrictors is easy and cost effective. They can be fitted when your sash windows are installed, or they can be easily fitted retrospectively as your family grows. It is so important to get the message across about window restrictors – they are such a simple thing to have but can prevent serious falls and injuries, not to mention break ins”.
CAPT recommend that you fit window catches, locks or restrictors to stop your windows opening too wide with Chief Executive, Katrina Phillips, stating that safety equipment, such as window restrictors, takes the pressure off parents and homeowners. They are “easy to fit and you can find safety catches for all types of windows, including metal window frames and double glazing”.
For extra safety, many families with young children prefer to install double hung sash windows (windows that can be opened by sliding the bottom panel up, as well as by sliding the top panel down). They can open the top window for ventilation, and it will be too high for children to reach, making it easier to keep little ones out of harm’s way. Of course, children are curious and may still be able to climb up to the window, so keep a close eye on them and make sure an adult is always present.
Ensuring the safety and security of your entire household is important and you will naturally want to make your home a secure haven, especially when living with young children. Windows are one of the most common entry points during burglaries due to their fragility and worryingly, a burglar doesn’t necessarily have to even break a window to gain access, as so many often don’t have decent locks or latches at all. However, there are a few steps you can take to minimise an intruder’s success. If your existing sash window frames are crumbling and generally looking old and tired, an intruder may see your home as an easy target. Upgrading to brand new sash windows in strong, robust frames would be a great starting deterrent. Window restrictors should be next on the list. Window restrictors not only keep children safe from harm, but they can also add another layer of security to your home, protecting your property from break-ins. If an intruder attempts to raise your sash window from the outside in order to enter your home, they will not be able to do so by the window restrictor.
When it comes to safety, window restrictors should be integral to all windows, but often they are overlooked. So simple to fit and inexpensive to purchase they can help significantly reduce the shocking statistics discussed in this article regarding falls in the home and more specifically, from windows. They can also be used for other reasons too, such as to improve window security or to open windows when occupants are in the house but away from the open window. Many people use them for ventilation on warmer days and nights (although we would always advise caution against leaving windows open at night, or when unattended even though window restrictors may be fitted).