Let’s Be Proactive About Window Safety
A couple of weeks ago, The Glazine featured an article about window safety. Following a poll carried out by Mighton Products, two out of three businesses asked said they were in favour of raising awareness via a window safety week.
A week of this nature is already well established in the USA and although the idea was new to me, I can see that it makes a lot of sense. There are some frightening statistics. In the UK, 4,000 children are injured annually in window-related accidents. I’m a family man and the nightmare scenario of an infant falling from a window strikes genuine fear in me. But, of course, it isn’t just about falls – windows are critical emergency escape routes for fire safety, and the right type of glass must always be used in doors and windows sited near to ground level.
Although we know about the dangers, the safety of windows or doors isn’t something we talk about all that much in the industry. We know that consumers replacing their glazing are looking for improved appearance, better thermal performance and enhanced security, so that’s what we concentrate on. That’s not to say the windows we produce aren’t safe or up to spec, of course they are, but safety becomes a secondary consideration when we’re selling. I’m sure that anyone who has had a child injured would argue that safety should be at the very top of the list.
The recent hot weather will, no doubt, have prompted many to open windows throughout their homes, trying to get a little air movement. That’s completely understandable, but imagine you’ve opened a window and it has furniture close by. Imagine you’ve got a curious toddler who’s always climbing on things and imagine what could happen if the window opening is not restricted.
How often do child safety restrictors get ignored in the battle to compete on price? And if it is something that’s discussed with a homeowner, is it as an afterthought? As an industry, we’re fond of stressing the benefits of multipoint locks and A+ rated thermal performance, but what’s wrong with putting as much effort into selling windows that can protect our families? Taking the time to establish the potential risks within a household and using the hardware that’s available to mitigate those risks isn’t just sensible and responsible, it’s also a possible sales advantage.
Reviewing aspects like the need for restrictors and egress hinges should be part of any property survey. Far too many homes have inadequate provision for emergency escape as a result of “bargain basement” installations or lack of consideration when replacing glazing, but solving the problem isn’t impossible. We’re more than equipped to fabricate the appropriate windows. As an industry, we’re well-placed to offer guidance to homeowners, and if we could adopt and promote a US-style window safety week, I’m sure we could drastically reduce the numbers of terrible accidents. If it works in the States, we can get it working here.
There are a lot of good, simple ideas on the American site which you can access here.
Window safety matters. Please pass that message on.