Window Opening Control Devices

By Robert Robillard on Home And Personal Safety

Window Opening Restriction Devices May Prevent Deaths:window safety

We’ve all heard or the tragic news of a young child falling from an open window.   Up till recently it was up to an individual home or property owner to child proof windows and doors.    Fortunately many window manufacturers have recently incorporated Window Opening Control Devices into their window units and for good reason.

Window Fall Statistics:

A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that approximately 5,200 children and adolescents 17 years of age and younger were treated in U.S. emergency departments each year from 1990 through 2008 for injuries sustained due to falls from windows. That’s equal to approximately 14 children being injured from a fall daily.

Children 0 to 4 years of age are especially vulnerable, and account for a majority (65 percent) of the injuries, serious injury or death

What Are Window Opening Control Devices:

A  window opening control devices is a window component that, when engaged, restricts the window from being opened  to no more than 4 inches.  When dis-engaged it allows the window to be fully open and operational.

Probably the biggest myth about window opening control devices is that they prevent a person from escaping through the window during and emergency like a fire.  These devices have one purpose – to prevent accidental falls, but they also allow the window to be opened for egress situations as well.  It’s up to the homeowner to properly understand and learn how to engage and disengage the window opening control device.

Window opening control devices follow years of local building code and safety regulations that required  window guard placed in home where young children were present.  When a window opening control device is incorporated into the window  you do not need a window guard which can be aesthetically unpleasing.

Window opening control devices are a new type of device, introduced with the 2008 edition of the ASTM F2090 standard.  Additionally the 2009 IRC building code allows a window to be installed below a sill height of 24 inches if it is equipped with a window opening control device.

Window Opening Control Devices Requirements:

  • Device must release with no more than 15 pounds of pressure.
  • Be operable in all types of weather
  • Be clearly identified
  • Not reduce the net opening  required for an emergency egress window.
  • Limit the sash to open to a less than 4-inch dimension.
  • Be deactivated via one dual-action or two independent actions. Such actions then allow the sash to be fully opened as may be needed for emergency escape, rescue or ventilation.
  • Re-engage when the sash is closed so that the next time the sash is opened, it again stops at a less than 4-inch dimension.


Can Existing Older Window Be Retrofitted?

Yes – Window opening control devices can be retrofitted to existing windows

After market kits may be purchased online or from major window manufacturers such as Anderson, Pella, Eagle and Marvin.   These kits usually contain right and left upper sash devices with easy to install instructions.

The devices will limit the window opening of the lower sash to less than 4 inches. Easily releasable the device allows the sash to fully open for maximum ventilation or if emergency egress is needed.

The devices automatically reset once the lower sash is returned to the closed position and will stop the window at the 4 inch dimension when the sash is opened again.


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor / Writer / Video Talent

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. He also writes the "Ask the Carpenter" advice column in the Boston Globe, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob <a href=""

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