Mike Derham, Chairman of Mighton Products, highlights the potential dangers to young children and toddlers of open windows, and how the Angel Ventlock® has been designed to offer a simple, effective and secure solution.
There is no time in life when curiosity is more powerful than in early childhood. The world of a young child is full of new experiences; new people to meet, food to eat, games to play and places to explore. All of which can be hugely exciting for both toddlers and parents alike, although, for the parents, the thrill of watching their offspring discover the world around them, can often be offset by the constant challenge of ensuring that they do so in as safe an environment as possible.
Young children will unwittingly be attracted to all sorts of hazards – that is just a fact of life. And while it’s second nature these days to invest in a wide range of products to help protect them from serious injury – such as car seats, stair gates and even covers for electrical sockets or adhesive foam padding for sharp corners – many parents are still unaware of the dangers presented by windows.
Every year, for instance, approximately 4,000 children are injured due to open windows and tragically, 15-20 are killed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 80% of those injured are under the age of four, a statistic that highlights the fact that children are simply unaware of the potential dangers of windows, and that while you can take some preventative measures to protect them, there’s always a risk that they will hurt themselves unless they’re under constant supervision.
There is, however, one way to ensure they remain safe and that’s to fit a window opening controlled device, such as the Angel Ventlock®; a low cost, yet incredibly effective solution that does not detract from the aesthetics or overall functionality of a window, but one that can either be easily integrated by a manufacturer, or retro-fitted in just a matter of minutes, to give homeowners, parents and guardians complete peace of mind that the young children in their care are properly safeguarded.
The idea for the Angel Ventlock® came about following a customer query made at a Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) event in the states, where Mighton was exhibiting. The customer in question had been looking at a regular Mighton Ventlock® product, one that had been available for the last 30 years, and queried whether it met standards set out by US building codes. As a result of this enquiry, the team at Mighton ended up working on the ASTM Sub-Committee to develop new standards of safety, work that ultimately resulted in the introduction of ASTM F2090-2008 and 2010, a specification that established the installation, safety, performance and labelling requirements for devices intended to address the risk of injury and death associated with accidental falls from windows by children aged 6 and younger.
This development, which was designed by Mighton 10 years ago, also led to the introduction of compliant window restrictors that are now sold to some of the largest window companies in the world.
Engineered to meet both US safety standards and UK standard Building Regulations the Angel Ventlock® incorporates a patented design that is compatible with standards set out by the new building codes, as well as similar escape and rescue standards in the US. This unique design also means that children aged six and above should be able to operate the lock unaided in case of emergencies, such as a house fire. This feature has been tested by various focus groups and highlights the fact that the Angel Ventlock® might have been designed to be child proof, but it’s certainly not adult proof! Angel Ventlock® has been tested as a key component of windows that have passed PAS24:2016 and as such are included in the list of hardware on the Mighton Secured By Design License.
Originally designed for traditional sash windows, with a either a face or side fix option that is fitted into the stiles of the top sash, as well as retro-fit versions, and even a Mini Angel for use on PVC, aluminium and fibreglass double and single hung sashes, “We have continued to develop the Angel Ventlock since it went on sale in 2009, and now offer solutions for both sliding and casement windows.“
These days, modern windows are engineered to be increasingly stylish, energy efficient and even secure from break-ins. With an Angel Ventlock®, manufacturers and homeowners have the option to add to those features, with an easy to fit, highly effective and value adding product that at the very least will provide utmost peace of mind – and could even mean the difference between a happy childhood, or one that’s marred by a preventable tragedy.
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