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Press Release
New York City Department of Health
Office of Public Affairs
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Greg Butler
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
(212) 295-5335/5336 (DOH)


Health Commissioner Issues Recommendations to Protect Children from Window Falls

New York City Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, today reminded New Yorkers of the importance of window guards in protecting young children from deaths or injuries because of falls from windows.

Dr. Frieden said, "With the arrival of warmer temperatures and more people leaving windows open in their homes, parents and caregivers should check to make sure that window guards are properly installed. New York City's Window Guards Law has saved hundreds of children's lives by preventing accidental falls from windows. In 1977 there were 151 preventable falls compared with two in 2001. Simply put, window guards save lives."

Dr. Frieden explained that the New York City Health Code (Section 131.15) requires DOH-approved window guards to be installed and maintained by the owner, manager, or agent of a multiple dwelling (building with three or more units). Each year, landlords or managers must give tenants a form that should be filled out and returned to inform the building landlord or manager if a child ten years of age or younger lives in the apartment. The tenant should also provide information on whether window guards need repair, or if window guards are requested even if no children live in the apartment. Tenants may not refuse window guards if they have a child ten years of age or younger living in the apartment.

Dr. Frieden continued, "Tenants and landlords should cooperate to ensure that window guards are installed properly. Tenants whose landlord or manager refuses to install required and requested window guards should call the Health Department to make a complaint at 1-877-NYC-DOH7 (1-877-692-3647). Conversely, landlords or managers whose tenants have refused the installation of window guards should call the Health Department's Window Falls Prevention Program at (212) 676-2162. It is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that window guards are in place and properly installed."

Tenants who do not have children living in their home, but receive frequent visits from children should have window guards installed as well. The Health Department also strongly recommends that New Yorkers with children in one and two-family houses, which are not included in the Window Guards Law, install window guards as well. No building owner or managing agent of a multiple dwelling may refuse a written request from a tenant or occupant of a multiple dwelling unit to install window guards.

New Yorkers who have questions regarding window guard installation, types of approved window guards and where to purchase them, or those who would like a copy of the law or educations materials may contact the Window Falls Prevention Program at (212) 676-2162. Police precincts and hospital emergency room personnel should also call this number to report falls from windows, as required under the Health Code (Section 11.03).

The Health Department offered the following additional recommendations for preventing window falls:

  • Never leave your child alone in a room where there are open windows that do not have window guards.
  • Furniture on which children can climb should not be near windows. Some babies can climb up on furniture and crawl through open windows even before they can walk.
  • Keep children off balconies or terraces and keep balcony and terrace doors locked when not occupied by a responsible adult.
  • Never let your child play:
    • on fire escapes;
    • on balconies or terraces;
    • on roofs;
    • in halls with windows that do not have window guards;
    • near elevator shafts; or
    • near steps and stairs.
For more information, please call the Window Falls Prevention Program at (212) 676-2162 or visit