Window Falls Are a Hidden Household Danger Most Parents Miss
Window locks are a simple fix that can deter curious children.
A few weeks shy of turning 5, Evan and his 7-year-old brother shouted out to neighbor kids from an open upstairs window in their home on a Hawaii naval base. The insect screen gave way, and Evan fell two stories. He died two days later from his injuries.
Tragedy Sparks Law Change
Evan’s parents were reluctant to hold the contractor and government responsible in court. Still, they felt it was the only way to protect other children and their parents from the same agony they experienced. Their bravery and willingness to tell Evan’s story sparked a national movement by safety advocates and lawmakers to change state and federal laws and require stronger window screen protections.
Evan’s Law, introduced in 2017, mandated window safety devices in privatized military homes. The Law was strengthened two years later, expanding the safety requirement to windows within 42 inches of the floor and establishing a Defense Department grant program for privatized housing companies to retrofit existing homes.
But There’s Still Work to Do
While Evan’s story inspired national awareness and a movement to prevent window falls, Evan’s Law only extends to military housing. Every year, thousands of children continue to suffer injuries from household windows. Yet, 70 percent of parents say they have never installed any window safety protections. All of this means that thousands of children are still at risk.
Of course, parents want a home environment where young children are free to be creative and explore. Here are a few simple precautions to protect curious kids from window falls:
Finally, note that windows are just one of many home hazards not typically on the safety radar of parents. Use this guide from Safe Kids Worldwide to make your entire house kid-safe, top to bottom!