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Wisconsin Department of Health Services

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Window Guards and Locks Prevent Falls

All upper floor windows (and first floor windows that are 12 feet or more above the ground) should be protected by window guards or window locks to prevent accidental falls.  Each year, children in Wisconsin are injured or killed after falling out of windows.  There are several easy, inexpensive guards and locks that parents and landlords can install to prevent falls from windows.   

What are window guards and locks?

Window guards are aluminum or steel bars with a maximum 4 inch spacing that are installed in the bottom half of a double hung window (or over the entire opening of a crank style window).  Some window guards are removable or releasable from the inside without the separate use of tools, keys or excessive force.  This type of window guard can be removed by an adult or rescue personnel in case of a fire.  Child safety window guards are not the same as burglar/security bars.  Security bars may be wide enough for a child to slip through and should not be used as a child safety window guard.

Locks can be installed very inexpensively and can be used to secure the window in the closed position, or to restrict the window from opening more than four inches (the recommended safe amount). 

Window Safety Tips

  1. Screens are not safety devices:  Screens are only designed to keep bugs and insects out, not to keep children in!
  2. Keep beds, furniture, and anything a child can climb on away from windows.
  3. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows children cannot reach, or open windows from the top, not the bottom.
  4. Install child safety window guards or locks on all windows that are 12 feet or more above the ground. 
  5. Always supervise children. 

For more information

  • DHS Injury Prevention Program, call 608-267-7174
  • National Safety Council Window Safety Information (exit DHS)
  • Center for Injury Research and Policy Fact Sheet on Window Falls (exit DHS)

 Prepared by the
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Bureau of Environmental  and Occupational Health

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Last Revised: September 12, 2013