Window guards are like child car seats in that they are only safe if their installation is done properly.
All window guards must be approved by the Department of Health.
The only approved window guards technically have a number stamped on them (the ones the housing authorities approve).
Window guards must be put in right and screwed tight! Tamper-proof and “one-way” screws must be used for installing guards. These screws cannot be removed with any ordinary slotted head or Phillips head screwdriver.
Are they optional?
Window guards are not optional. If you live in a mutliple dwelling, they are required. As NYC.gov stipulates:
“The NYC Health Code requires owners of buildings of 3 or more apartments to provide and properly install approved window guards on all windows in an apartment where a child (or children) 10 years of age or younger reside and in each hallway window.” Read more >
I am in a rental, who is responsible for installing them?
If you are in a rental, the obligation falls on the landlord.
I am in a co-op, who is responsible for installing them?
If you are in a co-op, the obligation falls on the ownership corporation in a co-op.
I am in condo, who is responsible for installing them?
If you are in a condominium you own, the obligation falls on you.
What kind of guards do I need?
The guards must be an approved make and model, and are supposed to be installed with one-way screws that cannot easily be removed. Window stops are also required to prevent windows from being opened far enough to allow there to be a space over or under a guard through which a young child could slip.
Who can install them for me?
You can read PSP mever review of window guard installers here.
Where can I find out more information?
Here are links to some Department of Health web pages regarding window guards.
- Preventing Falls from Windows (NYC.gov)
- Window Guards Save Lives (PDF from NYC.gov)
- IT’S THE LAW: BUILDING OWNERS MUST INSTALL WINDOW GUARDS (NYC.gov)
- Window Guard Regulations of the City of NY 6-30-91- Chapter 12
- Window Guard Regulations (NYC.gov)
What kind of window guards do I need?
- “We just installed guards in our brownstone. The height depends on how high you want to raise the window. The important part is to put a stopper on the window so it can only be raised a few inches above the guard. No matter how high or low the guard, you want to make sure your child can not climb over the top of the guard and get out of the window. You can get stoppers that can be released if you needed to get the window up higher than usual (window washing, evacuation).”
- “For the openings of our staircases, two out of three of these companies are recommending metal gates, not unlike what I've seen available in stores (but of course they take care of installation, which is the hardest part). The third is adamantly recommending retractable mesh gates, which the other two companies say are not recommended for staircases.”
- “Most of the landlord purchased window guards you see are the John Sterling brand or similar. They are very affordable and work perfectly fine although don’t hold up in the weather as well as others so over time the paint will wear and they won’t look as nice.”
- “Guardian Angels are great bars (and fairly attractive as far as window bars go), and yes, good for fire safety or for removing to put in an air conditioner. Offhand, I don’t remember the name of the company that manufactures them, but they are on the list of approved companies for NYC laws.”
- “You could google any of these approved manufacturers, some of which sell online."
- "I’d recommend Guardian Angel guards, which are available for double hung windows as small as 14” and are removable for emergencies or window air conditioners.”
- "We got the removable window stoppers from here."
More reading from around the web:
- From a PSP member: “My son (3 years) had a terrible accident and he fell ~9 feet out of the Parlor floor on to the concrete surface below. Miraculously he did not incur any life threatening injuries. He did end up with 2 non-displaced fractures one on his skull and the other on his right clavicle. We were at the hospital for 2 days and I do not wish the experience that we went through on anyone. It's been really tough to wrap my head around the accident and the trauma. We live in a 2 family home and we've kept the windows closed all the time or when we did open them it was always the top panel to ensure safety. But it was a muggy day and my husband opened the bottom panel of the window (while our son was outside in the backyard). It's only been minutes since he had been back in the house and he did not expect the window to be open. It only takes a second for a terrible accident to happen and all the other times that we were careful just does not matter. We installed window guards on all the windows of our house the following day and did not realize that there is a law that requires window guards in NYC. Although the law is not applicable to 2 family homes NYC tenants with kids do have rights.I wanted to share my story with this wonderful community and share some quick stats and helpful links, so that another PSP family would not have to suffer through an unnecessary accident like we did.”
- Eric Clapton’s son died from falling out of a condo window with no guards.