On the Pulse

Summer Safety Reminders for Parents and Caregivers of Young Children

7.20.2023 | Heather Cooper

toddler stands by windowWarm weather provides opportunities for summer fun for families, but it also brings some safety risks that many parents and caregivers may have never considered.

Wellness and Health News shares reminders to help keep young children safe from window falls and illness or death from being left in a hot car.

Window falls are common and preventable

Warmer weather means open windows, and more risk of children falling out of them. Window falls are a common cause of serious injuries and death, and children ages 2 to 5 are at the greatest risk. These tragedies can be prevented with safety devices and careful habits.

The safest windows are those that open from the top down, but many homes don’t have these styles. For homes without that style of window, it’s important to install window stops or guards, which you can buy at hardware stores and online.

Window stops prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches. They are low-cost and easy to install. If you must open a window more than 4 inches, install a window guard. These can be easily removed by an adult in an emergency, like a home fire.

Know that window screens are not safety devices. They are designed only to keep bugs out, not to keep kids in. When screened windows are open, kids may lean or push against the screen — popping it out of the window frame and tumbling out after it. Never rely on screens to keep young ones from falling out of windows.

If you’re purchasing new windows, ask for ones with built-in safety hardware that meets the ASTM F2090 standard. These are called “Window Opening Control Devices.”

Make it a house rule to play at least two feet from windows and keep furniture and other things that can be used for climbing a safe distance away.

If you visit a place where windows are not child-proofed, close and lock them during your visit, and watch your child carefully.

parent smiles at child in carseat

Kids in hot cars can result in tragedy

About 38 children in the U.S. die each year from heatstroke after being trapped in a car. It might seem that a parent or caregiver could never forget about their child. But this tragedy happens to busy people from all backgrounds and in all parts of the country.

It doesn’t have to be as hot as you might think for a child to be in danger. Deaths have occurred when the temperature is just above 70° F. The temperature inside a car can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and 40 degrees in an hour. A child’s body temperature rises quicker than that of an adult. Cracking a window isn’t enough to keep the temperature safe, so if your child falls asleep in the car on the way home, don’t be tempted to leave them inside to finish their nap. Never leave a young child alone in the car.

Prevent tragedy by setting up a system to check the backseat of your car every time you get out. Put your phone, purse, briefcase or work shoes in the backseat so you’re forced to see your child before you get out. Another system is to set a daily reminder on your phone to be sure you’ve checked the back seat for your child after normal drop off time. Ask your child’s daycare to call immediately if your child doesn’t arrive when expected.

Remember: never leave a young child alone in a car — not even for a minute — regardless of the temperature. Call 911 if you see a child left alone in a car.