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Small Windows

We bought the land near the water on a peninsula, because the local district has water on three sides. We thought how lovely it would be to have the cooling effect of the sea during our long, hot summers.

We can be kinder to the earth we thought, by opening windows to catch those sea breezes and not have to rely on air-conditioning units. We want to have an energy efficient, environmentally friendly house. But there are more rules to building then there are fish in the sea.

beach cricket
The beach near our home

The builders tell me the windows on the upper storey will have ‘restrictors’ which means they will not be allowed to open more than 100mm. (a gap too small for a child’s head to fit through). Believe it or not, in Australia, 50 children a year fall out of upper storey windows.

Why? What happened years ago when all windows opened outwards?

Did children fall less or more at those times? If so, I wonder why?

Torun poland
This is not happening in Australia any longer.

It seems that the authorities cannot trust us to do the right thing and take care of our children. They want to eliminate every potential accident, and that in itself, is a truly wonderful objective. Our children are safer.

The cost for this, however, is then passed on to the environment and the ambient temperature in our homes. Will children grow up with no common sense or spatial awareness because the regulations have kept them so safe that they are less aware of where their bodies lie in space. Then again, accidents do happen. Children are precious.

In two years time, every new house will need to have fly-screens fitted to every window above a certain height; screens that can withstand a 25 kg weight, before it gives way. Enough to hold a young child who might be bouncing on their bed and accidentally fall against the screen. Then we do not need window restrictors like this one.

It is sad that we need so many regulations and rules to look after our children.

What rules or regulations govern your windows of your home, in your area?


62 thoughts on “Small Windows”

  1. That to me seems a bit like well-minded politics without much real-world logic behind it. But that’s just my soapbox. Our RV has to have an escape route. lol. So our back window has to have emergency exit stickers and a big red handle that’s used to push the whole window out. Like on a bus. Sometimes, when we’re driving around, we sing ‘The Wheels on the bus go round and round….’ The beach around your house looks lovely!

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    1. Thank you Squeak! (Sorry I don’t know your first name/s. I totally agree with having an escape route. Even when I installed security screen on my ground level house, I made sure the children’s room did have one window with a simple fly screen they could push out in the event of a fire. How are kids or indeed adults supposed to get out if the bolt is fixed and the window only opens 100mm? There must be a way, that I don’t know. The Wheels on the bus is a fun song. And there are so many verses, that you can add or make up.

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          1. Amanda! Nice to know you! We did get a short hike in today. It was sunny but a little cold. I thought you might appreciate that we are expecting a bit of snow tomorrow. I’m sure it won’t stick, but I guess he just can’t stand to leave. Lol.

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              1. Well I guess planning a house is consuming a lot of my mind at the moment, but I do have a few days holiday coming up towards the end of next month. We usually go to the coast and watch the pounding surf against the rocks, as it generally is pretty rough at Easter time. Not good for swimming but excellent for walks along the headlands and watching the show the ocean puts on for us.

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              2. Aah! That sounds awesome! I imagine it’s quite the spectacular show. I bet you gain a pretty great appreciation for the force of nature! And I also imagine it will be a nice break after house planning!!!

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              3. Yes, it will be a lovely break, Lindsay, but our pooch has to stay home, so I guess we will fret a bit, maybe even more than her! But the welcome home from a lovely pet, is always worth it!!

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              4. Aww. So sweet and so true, Amanda! I remember having to leave our little sweetheart at home and we talked about her all the time! Just like parents with human kids! Lol. And so true… I’m not sure which of you will miss each other more! ❤️

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              5. I think it is chionophile – organisms that thrive in winter condition or love snow. I actually have a small amount of Inuit DNA so you might not be that far wrong with the Eskimo term!!

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  2. I have never heard of rules about how wide the windows should be. So I am bewildered when I read this! If some people can’t take care of children, isn’t it unfair to impose such rules? I love French windows, the wider they are the better!

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    1. Yes I agree, Balroop. The intentions are good, but the execution, I think, leaves the residents vulnerable in the case of fire. Sometimes they might need to get out!

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  3. Yes Amanda, what if there was a fire! Bureaucracy is the most frustrating thing – absolutely no common sense in it sometimes. Will there be an easy way that allows the rules, and window restrictions, to be broken once the house is completed?

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    1. Once we take handover of the house and install the prowler proof screens that can take 25 kg of weight, we will remove them, Chris. As much as I think it is crazy to have them, I think of Eric Clapton’s toddler (that was high rise), or my daughter who was jumping on the bed and fell against the glass part of the window and cracked it. The bed was mived away from the window quick smart.We were ground level and no one was hurt but if the window or screen had given way, or it had been high up, I could see a different outcome. But in making young kids safe, they have inadvertently put adults and children at risk of dying in a house fire.

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  4. Beautiful scenery to have!! To my awareness, the window restrictions here are pretty much our responsibility. Now we only have a ground floor home, but other than storm windows, I’m unaware of political/government guidelines and/or restrictions. My guess would be don’t leave a small child child alone near a large open window. They will learn, through our teachings and supervision the dangers it can have. I’m not sure a bolted/restricted window will be much help if there was a fire or other emergency. Maybe that’s just the cough medicine talking.

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    1. Mammasquirrel, I hope your cough improves! I totally agree with you on all counts. Common sense should prevail, however Australia seems to err on the side of a Nanny state because we are so frightened of corporate litigation.

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    1. That is correct. Rules and regulations do not replace education, and common sense. If we prevent children from an opportunity to learn, they may miss out altogether on that lesson.

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  5. That is interesting to hear that flyscreens will be fitted to windows at a certain height in two years time. I”m not too sure what I think about that. On one hand, it is a means to protect children from falling out. But on the other hand it means you can’t really see through the window or open it fully. Growing up in suburban Australia, I remember my house’s windows all had flyscreens. Growing up in Malaysia and Singapore in apartments, grills were fitted over windows (which you could lock and unlock).

    The apartment I am currently living in has those windows that you roll open horizontally (as opposed to push open) outwards – and it’s very stiff at rolling open. I really like these kinds of windows as it really is hard for anyone to fall out.

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  6. We live in a crazy world, nothing left to common sense.. too sad for those that fall out of windows but a breeze in a house is soo needed.. ;-).. and kids grow up.. then what.. 😉

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  7. Our windows only open a few centimeters, too. But then again, we don’t need to open them much 😀
    About being environmentally friendly, do a lot of Australians have solar panels on their roofs? Over here, it’s becoming more and more popular for those lucky enough to live in a house of their own (ie not an apartment building). Some energy companies even buy the left-over solar energy and the investment quickly pays itself back.

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    1. Yes, Snow. We have a big uptake on solar panels here, particularly when the government offered a subsidy towards the upfront cost and a credit on the solar energy your system pumps back into the grid. The scheme was so popular that the goverment stopped the rebate and now offer an interest free loan to pay for new solar panels. That is a good thing. I am disappointed that we don’t maker our own solar panels in Australia, where we have sooo much sun. I think it was the Australian research company Csiro that develops a roof tile that is a solar panel. I would love to install that on my roof but is much too expensive at this point. The state of South Australia has partnered with Elon Musk and Tesla for battery storage of solar power for the State. Isn’t that awesome?

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  8. Amanda, are these restrictions on your own private house? I think so in which case this is crazy! Public buildings, hotels, etc allow only a small opening on upstairs windows but at home we have fully opening windows and no laws to the contrary. I’d feel trapped with not being able to open the windows … yesterday I was standing in a desk, leaning out to clean the windows and thought this was perhaps not my wisest move!

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    1. Yes it is my new house that I am buidling.
      And Oh dear, Annika. You have to be careful leaning out, but by no means should we have restrictors. I do understand it in the public space with litigation concerns, but then is this also a fire hazard in those buildings? I guess they have sprinkler and smoke alarms to protect the occupants?

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      1. All public buildings have smoke alarms and evacuation plans … some sprinklers. Even most home now have smoke alarms as well, ours mostly go off when we burn the toast! How amazing to be building your own home!! 😀😀 Wishing you the best of time, restrictions et al notwithstanding.

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        1. It is the first and last time I will build but it is terribly exciting choosing everything from the ground up. I am in a townhouse at the moment, one that has smoke alarms – they sound when I am cooking french toast or when my husband grills sausages!! So do you as I do madly wave tea towels underneath the smoke detector to disperse the smoke?

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          1. Amanda, I’m chuckling at you waving madly with the tea towel! Nope, I haven’t tried that yet! Usually I fling open the windows and ask my tall son to take the alarm down so I can turn it off.

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    1. We do have plenty of windows on the northern side, Pooja. And the southern side too. You will see that in future posts as it is getting built. But the regulations will be redundant once we install the flyscreens, and as it is near a wetland habitat, we absolutely need the insect screens in any case. But yes, it is a bugbear. How are things in your part of the world? Revelling in Spring? Any short trips planned?

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      1. I think we might go to the seaside in June, Amanda. We’ll of course go on scuba diving trips around Poland in those cold lakes, but hopefully more of sightseeing too! 🙂 I’ve been hearing great things about Lublin, I have also not been to Malbork castle and the Mazury region.. and there is a famous route of castles here, would be nice to do some of that too hehe.

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        1. A route of castles. I would like to see that Pooja.I can thoroughly recommend Malbork castle and the Wawel castle complex in Krakow. Krakow had an excellent firework festival there at midsummer if you can go then. Do you see many fish in the lakes when scuba diving?

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          1. I’ve only been to one or two castles on that route, Amanda. One was in partial ruins and the other one was intact (very pretty, Disney-like). I’ve been to Wawel in Krakow. Oh I haven’t heard about the firework festival in Krakow, I doubt we’ll go there this year because there are some cities which I have yet to visit that are higher on my list: Lublin and Poznan being two. And many other villages and regions in Poland.
            Yes sometimes there are fish, last year in one of the lakes I remember seeing fish, crab and lots of green plants underwater. It was very pretty. Most of the dive sites in Poland are artificial lakes where dive centers install some attractions like an old plane, bus, car and ship. I need to take some photos this year and put them on the blog! Some of those artificial lakes have excellent clarity but in natural lakes the water is quite murky and the visibility is very bad.. We regularly dive in 4 degrees water over here even in summer hehe.. Summer is better because the water until about 8-10 meters of depth is in teens so it’s tolerable and not much of a shock when we reach the dreaded 4 degrees hehe.

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