Falls from windows and balconies

Children can fall from windows and balconies in their own home. These falls are often in the warmer months when doors and windows are left open and can cause serious injuries and death to children.

If you are renting and you wish to pay for any small changes to your property to improve safety, you should get your landlord to agree in writing. Landlords cannot refuse minor changes to the property, such as installing child safety devices and locks.

Since 2013, a number of changes have been made to help stop children from falling out of windows.

  • Windows that can be opened must have safety devices fitted to allow window openings to be locked at 12.5cm. This applies to:
  • Windows that are less than 1.7 metres above the floor on the inside of the house or dwelling, and
  • Windows that have a fall of 2 metres or more from the outside to the surface below
  • All bedroom windows in homes and child care centres built since May 2013
  • All windows in strata buildings by 13 March 2018.

Window safety devices must be able to resist an outward force of 250N (about 25kg).

If your window safety device can be unlocked or removed, another barrier will have been installed by your builder below the window.

Window safety

To protect children, you should put child-resistant window safety devices on windows in children’s bedrooms and other rooms where they play.

  • Make sure where possible, all windows especially bedroom windows:
    • Don’t open more than 12.5cm when above the ground floor; or
    • Have window latches/locks/guards fitted to stop windows opening more than 12.5cm
    • Open from the top
  • Install safety devices so that a 12.5cm sphere cannot pass through the window opening. The safety device must be able to resist an outward force of 250N (about 25kg)
  • Don’t change or remove safety devices without speaking to your builder
  • Beds and other furniture are kept away from windows, so that children cannot use them to climb up to the windows
  • Don’t rely on flyscreens to prevent a child falling out of a window
  • Children are taught to play away from windows
  • Children are always supervised when playing near windows
  • Owner’s corporations must have safety devices installed on all common property windows above the ground floor.

Balcony safety

  • Make sure where possible, balustrades (railings):
    • Are at least 1 metre high
    • Have vertical bars which are no more than 12.5cm apart. You can use a ruler to measure the gaps between your vertical balustrade posts
    • Have no horizontal or near horizontal parts that would allow children to climb
  • Keep all furniture, pot plants and other objects that children can climb away from the edge of balconies
  • Don’t have furniture that is light enough for children to drag to the balcony edge
  • Keep balcony doors locked to stop a child from going on the balcony
  • Supervise children on balconies.