Safety probe into high-rise windows after eight child deaths

Dubai police seek broader review of windows that open outwards after five-year-old boy falls to his death and his mother throws herself from the same window in Jumeirah Lakes Towers block.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sept 27 2011, Jumeira Lakes Towers "Mac 214 Building"- (right) An open  window on the 8th floor of the Mac 214 building is visibly open from that window is where a mother and her son fell to their death today, Sept. 27 2011. At approximately 7:00AM this morning (desk check times) a young boy and his mother fell to their death from a 8th floor window. Dubai Police are still investigating the incident, however, bystanders watching clean up crews told me, the mother was trying to save the boy from falling out the window and she also fell to her death. Mike Young / The National?

DUBAI // Police are calling for a safety review of windows that open outwards because of "an increasing concern" about children falling out.
"We have requested for the Dubai Municipality to review their safety criteria for windows which open from the back, as we have an increasing concern based on statistics over such windows," said Lt Col Ahmed Al Merri, of Dubai Police CID.
Eight children have fallen from windows in Dubai and Sharjah so far this year.
"These types of windows are very dangerous when there are unattended children," said Lt Col Al Merri. "These windows should have tighter safety measures such as safety locks.
"The concerned bodies need to develop their criteria and make it mandatory for the manufacturers of these windows, as well as contractors, to have tighter safety measures."
But parents also need to be more careful with children, police said.
Brig Khalil Al Mansouri, the head of CID, has urged parents to be careful and not to leave their children unattended around windows and balconies.
The remarks were made after the accident yesterday in which a five-year-old boy fell from the eighth floor of a Jumeirah Lakes Towers development. His distraught mother jumped after him.
Police asked for the municipality building safety experts to conduct an investigation into the safety of the flat's window.
"Our primary investigations suggest that different windows in the building could open at different widths," Lt Col Al Merri said.
But Marwan Al Mohammed, the head of the engineering supervision section at the municipality, said setting criteria for how wide a window can open is not feasible.
"We cannot have an apartment without windows or put a criteria for how wide a window can open," Mr Al Mohammed said.
"We cannot start inventing rules due to rare individual cases. It is not logical."
He said the municipality had clear building safety criteria based on universal best practices, which include that the bottom of a window cannot be less than 90cm from the floor.
wissa@thenational.ae