Look to United States for safety example

Mike Derham, chairman of Mighton Products.
Mike Derham, chairman of Mighton Products.

Calls for the UK to follow the United States in intensifying legislation and educational efforts to prevent young children falling from windows, have been made by Mighton Products’ Mike Derham, manufacturer of the Angel Ventlock window restrictor.

Mike highlighted National Window Safety Week, an initiative of the National Safety Council, which has linked with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to raise awareness about the dangers of children falling from windows in a campaign that took place during the first week of April.

This is to further reduce the estimated 3,300 children aged five and younger, who are treated each year in US hospital emergency departments; an average of eight deaths are also recorded annually.

In the UK, more than 4,000 such accidents a year happen.

“In the United States there is far greater awareness of the dangers posed to young children of falling from windows than here in the UK,” Mike said. “Legislation is tougher, but this is supplemented by public awareness initiatives including the National Safety Council, which even has a Window Safety Task Force that provides important information on how effective window safety practices and hardware can help significantly reduce the amount of window-fall related injuries.”

Roto Frank of America, the US distributor of Mighton’s window restrictor, has a representative on the Window Safety Task Force.

“Despite the work of the Child Accident Prevention Trust and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) legislation in the UK is comparatively poor, with the result that injuries and deaths to children caused by falling from windows are significantly higher pro rata then in the US,” Mike said.

“Legislation in the US imposes the ASTM [American Society for Testing and Materials] standard which helps prevent falls, educates parents and carers about window safety and defines standards for safety devices, especially those that prevent falls without interfering with emergency egress. ASTM standards are often used in the UK for other products so this is something that could so easily be remedied and without significant cost implications to anyone.”