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Queens Chronicle

Pols educate public about window guards

At least 3 young children recently fell from windows in Flushing area

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Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:22 pm, Thu Aug 15, 2019.

First, a 3-year-old boy fell onto the third floor from the sixth floor of a building at Union Street and 38th Avenue on June 27.

Then, a 3-year-old girl died from a three-story fall from a housing complex on Union on July 11.

After that, a 2-year-old girl fell from a second-floor window on 26th Avenue by College Point Boulevard on July 21.

In response to the three incidents, state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) and City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) stood with city officials last Friday to tell the public about the importance of window guards. They gathered on 38th Avenue, in front of the building where the June 27 incident took place.

“We’ve got to remember that a child’s home is a place of safety,” Stavisky said. “It’s a place where a child and the family can feel safe, and window guards help that sense of security.”

The issue is especially acute during the summer months, when many New Yorkers leave their windows open.

A city law passed in 1976 requires landlords to provide window guards for apartments with children 10 and under. It’s been credited with helping to dramatically reduce the number of deaths from young kids going out of windows.

Koo is urging residents who need window guards to get their landlords to install them.

And if the owners refuse?

“We will make sure they receive a violation,” said the councilman, who held a window guard at last Friday’s press conference.

Koo and Stavisky distributed multilingual cards to Flushing residents that show how to get the guards.

Department of Housing Preservation and Development Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement and Neighborhood Services AnnMarie Santiago joined the lawmakers. Her agency can issue violations to landlords who fail to provide window guards at apartments where the law demands them.

“Window screens are not window guards. There’s a big difference,” Santiago said. “And the guards should be installed with special crews to make sure they’re not going to come loose and they’re not going to come out.”

Health Department Bureau of Environmental Disease Medical Director Amita Toprani also provided some useful information for the public.

“If you’re able to open your window more than 4 1/2 inches, that window guard is not installed properly,” she said. “You can call your landlord or call 311 and find out what’s going on and get a properly installed window guard.”

CORRECTION

A previous version of this article misstated the age of children in New York City whose parents have a legal right to a window guard in their apartment. The right applies to the parents of children 10 and under. We regret the error.

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