Browsing the childcare aisle, you might find yourself bombarded with primary colors and things that squeak on command, but window guards for child safety pose a more serious consideration. As part of house-wide childproofing, window guards help prevent potentially serious accidents, giving you more time to focus on those colorful toys. If you live in a two-story home or have windows higher than 12 feet off the ground, window guards are worth a thorough look.
Most window guards for child safety come in the form of aluminum or steel bars, spaced at a maximum of 4 inches apart to prevent tykes from slipping through. These contraptions look sort of like junior versions of window security bars, though they're not guaranteed to keep thieves out. By and large, window guards temporarily install inside the window frame. As an alternative, some manufacturers offer metal-framed mesh window guards, which screw into the interior window trim. For either type of guard, the Boston Public Heath Commission advises that the device withstand at least 150 pounds of pressure -- any less may not be effective for child safety purposes.
Typically, pressure-mounted childproof window guards install without the use of tools, though some rely on screw-mounted side posts. These devices, which are usually adjustable, range in size from about 17 to 90 inches wide. Most window guards are removable and feature quick-release mechanisms for emergency use, but some -- generally older models -- are made for permanent installation. Removable window guards often accommodate single, double-hung, casement and hinged window types -- break out the tape measure and give the packaging a look before buying to make sure the guard fits your window.
Pricing and Availability
Alongside childcare stores of the online and brick-and-mortar varieties, home improvement centers and hardware stores often sell window guards for child safety. As of January 2013, these products range in price from about $30 to $115, not including tax and shipping and handling charges, which vary as much as a 2-year-old's mood on a bad day. Price usually depends on the size of the guard.
Strong as they may be, window screens and security bars do not stand in for childproof window guards; the former lacks strength while the bars of the latter are often just wide enough for sneaky toddlers to slip through. Guards are just one part of child safety around windows. Always keep your windows locked and be careful not to provide any convenient climbing platforms -- such as temptingly climbable beds and chairs -- near windows. Other window safety products for childproofing include window locks, cord wraps and window stops. Although window guards and other devices help keep your child safe and sound, at the end of the day, no product can replace good old-fashioned adult supervision.