NSW: New laws will help prevent child falls from windows
Date: 24th October 2013
Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts today announced that new window safety laws to help prevent children falling from residential strata buildings have now passed through Parliament.
“Owners corporations must have window safety devices installed above the ground floor that allow windows to open no more than 12.5cm when the lock is engaged,” Mr Roberts said.
“Residents will still be able to open their windows as they do now, however they will have the security of knowing that when the lock is engaged, children in their care will be protected.
“Warmer weather is upon us and residents of strata schemes should make sure that windows in their homes are safe.
“In 2011-2012, 39 children aged nine or younger were hospitalised in NSW due to window falls.
“There are over 72,000 strata schemes in NSW with an average of five new schemes registered each day, accounting for more than 600,000 residential lots.
“Owners corporations have until 13 March 2018 to install the devices.
“Individual strata schemes may only meet once a year, that means in the next four years members must agree on a course of action, fund its implementation, complete a risk assessment on all windows and then have devices installed.
“These devices are inexpensive and can be easily installed by anyone but it is crucial window safety devices are fitted correctly the first time.
“I urge owner corporations to act sooner rather than later, so no more children have to suffer permanent, debilitating injury or death due to falls from windows.”
The new laws follow recommendations from a report by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Working Party for the Prevention of Children Falling from Residential Buildings.
Australian Medical Association NSW President, A/Prof Brian Owler, commended the NSW Government’s commitment to protecting children from window falls.
“Similar laws in New York resulted in a 96 per cent decrease in hospitalisations due to falls from windows,” A/Prof Owler said.
“Such legislation is unprecedented in Australia and I encourage the other states to follow suit.”
Chair of the Owners Corporation Network, Stephen Goddard, said the retro-fitting of safety devices is necessary because many residential strata schemes were built when the community was unaware of the dangers.
“The Owners Corporation Network supports any action the Government takes to reverse the threat to life and safety from any amenity in a strata scheme,” Mr Goddard said.
“Window safety devices provide the last line of defence to prevent a serious injury or death and I thank all strata residents who have already begun installing the safety devices,” Mr Roberts said.
NSW Fair Trading is currently sending out more than 450,000 ‘Think Child Safe’ brochures to real estate agents, strata managers, community housing providers and all new tenants.