With an increasing number of children being injured in falls from windows and balconies each year, window hardware manufacturers are urging home owners and builders to step up their efforts to curb the tragic accidents.
The Alchin Long Group, which owns Australia’s largest privately owned hardware manufacturer Doric Products, as well as testing and engineering business Azuma Design, has called for improved safety standards for residential windows across Australia.
“We were saddened to hear the news of another tragic accident, where two boys were hospitalised after a fall from a second-storey window in Sydney,” said Alchin Long Group Marketing Manager, David Scoones.
“This is a topic we are very passionate about at ALG and we’ve done our best to give builders and home owners the tools to make sure their homes are safe for children.”
Each year around 50 children fall from windows and balconies, resulting in many serious injuries and even death.
While the building code of Australia (BCA) sets strict rules around window openings and balustrades, there are no laws that require openings in older buildings to meet current building standards.
However there are ways to improve safety.
Doric Products and Azuma Design, have joined the Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s Kids Don’t Fly campaign, developing specialty hardware to help stop these accidents from occurring.
Azuma has also developed specialised equipment for installers to test window specifications.
The company, which offers a wide range of industrial design, engineering and testing services, has developed a self-certification kit for window compliance for children’s safety.
The kit allows businesses to self-certify windows on site to ensure their products are suitable to be used within the requirements of the Building Code of Australia.
Accident information obtained by Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), found that in the majority of cases both the actions of the child or parent, in conjunction with specific building components, contributed to these incidents. In particular, placing furniture near a window that isn’t fitted with a latching or locking safety device, was identified as a significant child safety issue.
While the placement of furniture and supervision is left up to parents, the strata community and architects can do their bit to slow these occurrences and potentially save lives.
Incorporating simple, but effective products, like the Doric DS255 Sliding Window Limiter, in combination with testing using the Azuma Design kit, is an effective solution to this problem.