How Window Screens Increase Landlord Liability
To enjoy the fresh air we turn to the aid of window screens to protect us from annoying insects, but you could be opening your rentals to potential danger.
Each year thousands of small children are seriously harmed or killed when they fall out of windows guarded only by window screens.
For more than two decades, the combined efforts of the Screen Manufacturers Association, American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association have worked in partnership with the National Safety Council in providing consumer education safety programs. These national lifesaving programs include an aggressive window screen labeling campaign, the “Window Safety Week” (highlighted annually in April, but stressed year-round), and the “Kids Cant Fly” program.
Frank S. Fitzgerald, Executive V. President and Technical Director of the Screen Manufacturers Association and member of the Community Safety Division of the National Safety Council said, “that while screens are great for ventilation and to keep insects out, they are not designed to keep small children in! Diligent home safety practices and parental supervision are also key to injury prevention for children.”
The National Safety Council and the window industry have compiled some very useful common sense tips to share with tenants to help you reduce the potential risks of window falls in your rental property:
Keep furniture, or anything children can climb on, away from windows.
Keep windows closed and locked when children are home.
Keep childrens play away from windows and patio doors.
An open window with an insect screen is not a safeguard from a fall.
Do not paint or nail windows shut because they may be needed for emergencies.
Remember that unguarded windows pose a danger to children under 10.
Another thing that can cause personal injury and property damage is high winds from violent weather, like tornadoes and hurricanes.
The Screen Manufactures Association recommends that you remove all window screens when you know that you are in the path of a serious storm with high winds. Your window screens can quickly become projectiles if they are blown off and can damage your property or neighboring properties. Your window screens also pose a potential danger to anyone outside trying to secure their home or making last minute runs to the store for supplies.
The Screen Manufacturers Association, founded in 1955, represents more than 90% of all the screen products manufactured in the United States. For more information, safety tips and teaching aids for children, visit SMAs website at http://www.smacentral.org, or write to Screen Manufacturers Association, 2850 So. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach, FL 33480-6205.
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