Residents encouraged to take advantage of free safety tips and discounted window guards to protect children from falls
On Saturday, June 23, Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined parents, residents, landlords, EMTs, and public health officials to promote the importance of installing window guards to protect children from dangerous falls during the summer months. The event took place outside the Dorchester home of Nyoka Davis, a parent of three young children. Nyoka worked with her landlord Pradel Augustin to take advantage of a window guard program offered by the Boston Public Health Commission.
“As a parent, it’s easy to forget about the risk of window falls because we all think of our homes as the safest place for our kids to play,” Mayor Menino said. “But as people start keeping their windows open to enjoy the warm weather, we want to make sure that homes are truly safe. Fortunately, more and more parents can rest easy knowing that their kids won’t fall because of the Kids Can’t Fly program.”
As part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Kids Can’t Fly campaign, Boston residents and landlords can purchase discounted window guards at Boston Building Resources on 100 Terrace St., near Roxbury Community College. Discounted prices run from $23.50 for small and mediums, to $30.50 for large guards. Their business hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. or residents can call 617-442-2262. Paul Kiefer, Donations Manager for Boston Building Resources, was on hand at the event to demonstrate the correct way to install the guards.
Noting that falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury to children, Mayor Menino encouraged parents and caregivers to keep a close watch over kids at all times. In addition to installing guards, other ways to prevent window falls include:
- In warmer weather, open windows from top down, so the lower part that is easily accessible to small children closed.
- Keep furniture away from windows. Young children who climb furniture can reach windows and are particularly at risk for falling out.
- Keep unused windows and doors locked. This lowers kids’ risk of opening them and falling out.
“Children can be seriously injured falling from any windows, particularly those at least 12 feet above the ground. The good news is that window falls can be prevented. Anyone looking after kids should take some easy steps to keep them safe,” said Dr. Huy Nguyen, Medical Director at the Boston Public Health Commission.
BPHC encourages Boston residents and landlords to purchase and install window guards, and the Commission offers discounted guards through Boston Building Resources. In the last twelve months, the Commission and Boston Building Resources have distributed more than 260 discounted window guards.
BPHC launched the Healthy Section 8 and Affordable Housing Demonstration Project in April 2011 to distribute free window guards to landlords of small and low-income properties. Supported by a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with the Boston Housing Authority and the Boston Metropolitan Housing Partnership, this program provided 1,140 free window guards to 139 housing units with small children. In total, the program provided 14,000 landlords with Kids Can’t Fly information between April 2011 and April 2012.
BPHC’s Kids Can’t Fly program has been distributing and helping to install window guards since 1993, which has contributed to a sharp reduction in the number of window falls reported in the city of Boston. Falls have decreased from an average of about 20 per year in the early 1990s to 2 or 3 in more recent years.