NSW introduces new child-safe window regulations
In a bid to prevent accidents and improve safety where small children are concerned, NSW has recently introduced new child-safe window regulations. Under the new legislation, all strata buildings in the state must be fitted with locking devices to prevent falls.
The legislation follows similar requirements in places such as New York, where falls from windows have been found to decrease significantly.
What’s required under the new law
According to the new law, the window-locking devices must enable windows to be locked with a maximum aperture of just 12.5cm – a height small enough that children cannot fit through.
The locks must also be childproof and robust, and fitted to windows that are more than two metres above the outside ground level. It’s important to note that installing the locks doesn’t mean never opening the window wide again – the devices allow windows to be fully opened and closed as well as locked at 12.5cm. An alternative solution is to install security screens such as bars or grilles.
Body corporate organisations in NSW are now required to have the window locking devices installed by March 2018, or face fines for non-compliance.
Other ways to improve safety around windows
The new legislation is designed primarily to prevent falls from multi-level buildings. However, there are additional steps that parents or carers in any home can take to help improve window safety for children.
- Keep furniture away from windows. Small children can climb on furniture to reach windows, potentially placing themselves in danger. This risk can be reduced by keeping large furniture items such as chairs, bookshelves or side tables well away from the windows, especially on upper floors.
- Cut any blind cords. Some types of window coverings feature a cord that forms a loop at the bottom. Cutting these loops can prevent strangulation. Also take the time to ensure that all cords are well out of reach of small children.
- Install modern blinds. If your home does have older blinds and you are concerned about the cords, consider replacing your window coverings. Modern blinds, whether stock or custom made, now come with cordless or even motorised operation with child safety in mind.
While strata schemes are required to have the locks installed, these steps can help improve the safety of any home’s windows. And, as always, it’s important to remember that supervision is the best safety measure for keeping small children safe.