Monday, February 25, 2013

Window safety: more action needed

A two-year old boy has fallen 13 metres from a flat in Eastwood, in suburban Sydney. He's now in a stable condition with possible internal injuries, in the intensive care unit at Westmead Children's Hospital. We're crossing our fingers for him and thinking of his family.

As the linked article reports, changes to the Building Code of Australia mean that from May this year new buildings must have window-limiting devices installed on windows more than two metres above a surface: that is, locks that can lock open the window at not more than 12.5 centimetres, or bars, or reinforced screens (not flyscreens).

These changes are good, as far as they go – and they go nowhere to addressing window hazards in existing buildings.

Back in 2005, the NSW State Parliament addressed a different threat to life and limb when it passed legislation requiring smoke alarms to be installed in all residences – new and old.  This important safety measure has been implemented throughout the State without any serious hassles.

For the sake of the 40 or so children who fall from residential buildings each year, we should take the same approach to window safety. 

UPDATE 27/3/2013. Jeremy, the boy who fell, is reported to be doing remarkably well. We wish him continued good luck!

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