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17 Responses to “Child Falls from Windows: Preventable!”

  1. Yes, there have been several incidents of children falling out windows in our area, with some miraculous survivals. We put bars on the boys’ bedroom windows when they were young.
    Cheers,
    Randy Fleitman
    Fairfax, VA

  2. Hi Mark,

    I always enjoy your missives. The last two were particularly reminiscent for me. One of my very first encounters with the legal system and the window business back in the late 70’s had to do with a child falling out of a window (S/H) and where the window manufacturers liability ended.

    The prior article you re did about SAK was amazing and brought back so many memories of my time at CRL, the people that were there and are now gone and the many lessons I learned there.

    SAK will be missed as was John Ely when he moved on into a better world I hope. Maybe they are together working on reconfiguring and testing the “Pearly Gates”.

    Robert Voigt
    President
    BV and Associates, Inc.

  3. Your email has inspired me. I hope far more children are exposed to the dangers of unprotected windows. Preferably on YouTube. With sound effects.

  4. Mark and friendss always a pleasure and yet so sad… google up the phrase “children falling high rise dubai” and story after story of children clambering up to and then falling out of high rise… punches me in the gut and utterly common here and the government doing what about it? Hauling the parents off to jail for endangering their kids. And that’s it.

    Horrid and so preventable and yet hand wringing does nothing does it? I cannot speak of this further and am without any power to do anything about it… operable windows in high rise? Falling? Children? Architects? Engineers? Building Owners? Anyone interested in fixing this?

    No as that would cost money. And not my problem.

    Disgusting is too mild a term.

    Thanks Mark… with your post maybe you will save a life from someone who reads this.

  5. I have to admit that after I wrote the article and as an afterthought googled “falls from windows”, I was horrified at the news stories that abound, and especially the little girl who died in Abu Dhabi only yesterday. I placed links to some recent news article at the bottom of mine at ChicagoWindowExpert.com and hopefully some of these will hit home somewhere in the world.

  6. Preventable? Probably most if not all are with a bit of thought and not much expenditure. Opening limiters are useful to allow windows to open partly but not enough to allow anyone to fall out of. Locking handles help, but only if the key isn’t left in the handle! Properly thought through fastenings; we have a project on where there are narrow floor to ceiling windows in an office building. Each window is about 600mm (2 US feet) wide. The original ironmongery in the aluminium frames packed up years ago and so the managing agents had ‘Brighton’ sash fasteners fitted, designed to lock double-hung vertical sashes, not side-hung windows closed. These have screwed acorns which lock the fastener but these are made of pressure die-cast zinc (crapite) and the threads have stripped. Built ‘under former control’ the windows don’t have a mid-rail at 1100mm (3’7″ US) AFFL as the Building Regulations would now require. Last week a tradesman leaned against a window, the acorn pinged off, the fastener opened, the window swung open and he nearly fell through the opening from the 3rd floor (4th floor US) into the street below. A distinct brown trousers moment for him. It has prompted a radical rethink over all the windows in the building to check how they are secured shut and how effective the fasteners are. As the building is air conditioned, there is no need to open the windows anyway.

    As a risk assessment, the answer is yes, there is a likelihood of falls through the windows, falls will be almost inevitably fatal, it is practicable to redesign the system to remove the risk and the cost of doing so would not be unreasonable. The previous ‘repair’ was ill-thought out and didn’t answer the identifiable risk properly. The fact that we did not have a fatality last week is simply down to nothing more scientific than luck. It was an near-miss accident that was eminently preventable.
    MIchael Ney
    Schroeders Begg LLP
    Guildford, United Kingdom

  7. Have a look at the Angel Ventlock from Mighton Products. It’s designed to meet the stringent standards in the USA and in the UK. It meets ASTM F2090 – 2008/2010 safety codes. This is a global issue.

  8. Thanks for that reference, Iain. Their products look really good. Here is a summary of the ASTM standard, which was posted on the Angel Ventlock site

    http://www.angel-ventlock.com/f2090-2008.php:

    ASTM F2090-2008 AND 2010

    Open Window – No more than 4 inches
    When opening control devices or window fall prevention screens are properly engaged, the window opening must be less than 4 inches. Release Mechanism – No tools or special knowledge for emergency escape Window opening control devices must have release mechanisms to allow an escape in case of an emergency. They should be designed to allow an escape without the need for special knowledge, tools or keys.

    Release Mechanism – Independent operations of release mechanism
    To protect against the unintentional operation by a young child, the emergency escape release mechanism must be operated either by

    two independent single actions or
    one dual action

    The sash and the release mechanism needs to operate independently of each other.

    Force Needed – Maximum force 15 lbf
    The force required to release the emergency escape mechanism should not exceed
    15 lbf (66N).

    Automatic Reset
    After the window opening control device is released, it must automatically reset when the window sash is fully closed.

    Easily Seen Indicator
    The emergency escape release mechanism must be clearly visible so that it can be used in an emergency situation without impediment.

    No interference with integrity of window
    Opening window with the control device must not interfere with the operation, function or performance of the window. The opening control device must also comply with any other applicable code standard requirements.

    Instructions / Warnings that must be included
    Each aftermarket window opening control device, when sold, must include installation instructions, operating instructions and safety information in the packaging.

    Weather
    The emergency escape release mechanism must operate properly under all reasonably foreseeable operating – and weather conditions.

    Testing
    Window opening control devices must be tested and need to meet all requirements in accordance with Section 8b.

    Other
    Window opening control devices and emergency escape release mechanisms must not prevent the window unit from complying with applicable code requirements for minimum opening size.

  9. 6″ to 4″ limit stops are often found in the specifications we receive for condo/apartments. This works provided the tenant leaves them on.

    Richard Serzy
    Senior Project Manager at Thermal Windows Inc
    Tulsa, Oklahoma Area

  10. Horrid. Crying actually now. I am am tough man and live in a tough world. But children falling out of CW windows that we fabricate???
    I am without words.
    You men of CW I hold liable…

    Thomas Moore

  11. howard i. littman, aia

    Interesting… I suppose… but did anyone really need to spend money to study this only to conclude that restricting openings to 4 inches will prevent accidental falls through windows? Our building codes nationally restrict the openings (and have for some time) on windows in high-rises, and at guard rails everywhere for this exact (and obvious) reason.

    A great example of academic wastefulness, likely supported by ‘free’ money originating with taxpayers. Anyone in the design or building industries could have given you the same answer for free over coffee.

  12. thanks, Mark, I appreciate your work, and this one is a good public safety service.

  13. Howard – well said. Both our Standard Building Code and South FL Building Code addressed this prior to the state-wide FBC. As more consultants jump into the forensics, claims and litigation support pool, they are not aware of all that licensed architects are required to know. No disrespect to Mark as he may be just be inviting discussion.
    I never understood how a child’s fall through a casement window in NYC back in 1991 occurred, but the reported details never addressed the how or why, since the accident was so tragic, and the child of a well known individual.

  14. Sorry to know about the topic.
    I am a facade contractor. My ongoing project at Mumbai had a problem.
    The client needed an Automatic sliding door for which we suggested Dorma, but the client opted for local brand for which We delayed the job for 2 months. The reason was, It has the only one exit. The client was not ready for second / emergency exit.
    My concern was, at the time of emergency if the local brand fails & No emergency exit available. THEN WHAT ?
    After the client promised for second exit, I executed the job.
    Bottom line: The Developers are playing with Human Life– for their own monetary benefits.
    Regards
    Nasir
    Posted by Nasir Shaikh

  15. Mighton Products have the patented Angel Ventlock which meets the ASTM regulations and has even been used on USA military bases. It’s a product designed exclusively for sliding sashes. Even the RoSPA statistics show that 4,000 children are injured as a result from falling from windows every year in the UK. This is 4,000 too many. In the UK we need better legislation.

  16. Hi Mark,

    I cannot find the sash limiter requirements for commercial buildings (incl. apartments, condos, hotels etc) that specifically call for sash limitations. I believe IBC is (Burlingame Ca) the governing code though not sure which year…. But I would like to have whatever codes are applicable to this requirement in general. For years I have alerted salesman to be careful over 3 stories and to be sure to review with AHJ or simply provide sash limiters over the three stories..

    Your website is great , I found it with Google!

    Let me know and thanks so much for taking your time to help me out.

    Best Regards,

    John

    LEED AP BD&C, CSI/CDT, CA B 476027

    JELD-WEN Wood Windows

    ABS-American Building Supply
    People Dedicated to Excellence
    707-829-7557

  17. Deadly falls or any other kind of falls should be prevented by having a security window with bars in it.

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