Go To Your Room And Stay There!

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Children, I love mine very much, but there are those times.... Getting sent to my room was rare for me (you believe that I have a bridge for sale). Now other kids I heard went there often as punishment for things like putting worms in their sisters hair. The family who puts their children in the bedroom shown here are very strict indeed...and monumentally foolish among other things.

No way out?The big problem with this bedroom is that little window high up on the wall. Let's imagine this scenario;

The kids are sent off to bed at 8 like usual. At 3 in the morning a fire breaks out in the home. The kids are woken by the smoke alarm (if there is one). The flames have spread quickly and block the children from exiting their room to safety through the door. The window is the only way out except its high on the wall. On top of that the opening is extremely small making it impossible for an adult to enter from the outside.

I don't think I need to continue, I'm certain everyone understands.

Every bedroom or sleeping quarters must have two forms of egress. One is the door into the room the other is usually a window. The window must be of specific dimensions, a minimum of 24" high, 20" wide with a total minimum area of 5.7 square feet. A window meeting both minimum dimensions would be too small, 3.3 square feet, hence the minimum area. In addition the bottom of the window can not be higher than 44 inches from the floor.

How it should be doneThat mini window in the photo is common in basements, this happens to be a converted garage. How many basement bedrooms has everyone seen? Or perhaps even slept in.

Maximizing space is an on going chore when you own a home. Adding needed rooms is often not a luxury, but a requirement. One important thing to consider when making space is, do you want your children to go to their rooms forever?

I'm sure no one does.

 

 

 

James Quarello
Connecticut Licensed Home Inspector
2010 - 2011 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Rainer
375,414
Monica Foster
Monica Foster Team of eXp Realty - League City, TX
Broker, CRS, ABR, SRS, CHMS, CNE, CNHS

James,

Thanks for sharing.  Not only is the fact that the window it too high and small an issue, but covering it up with furniture doesn't help either!

Feb 08, 2011 08:51 AM #49
Rainer
40,155
Dale Ganfield
Leland, NC

Hi James, great explanation of the issue.   I have seen another issue which is equally dangerous for children.  The access doors leading to an attic space from a child's room which is not locked.  Always need to keep safety in the children's room in the forefront.  Thanks for the post.

Feb 08, 2011 09:05 AM #50
Rainmaker
233,733
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

What do you say about older houses where the windows all open to say... 22" high?  Anything?

Feb 08, 2011 09:31 AM #51
Rainmaker
1,244,953
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Reuben,

I want to get in on this one too. Personally, as far as your question, at an older house I have a disclaimer at the front of the report that talks, generically, about things like lead, asbestos, knob and tube, oil tanks and window egress that is often sub-standard to today's guidelines. Then, in the report, when the windows surely do not meet modern sizing I, for sure, do mention it specifically in the body of the report. I state that modern standards are onerous compared to those of years gone by. I may list the sizes of the windows, may not too. Then, in a nutshell, I describe basic modern guidelines and tell them that, if they are concerned, they should talk to a window installer. I do not make a huge deal of it, assuming windows are somewhat reasonable, but I do want it on record that I mentioned that the windows were small by today's standards. I put it back in the buyer's lap as to whether or not they care.

Feb 08, 2011 10:43 AM #52
Rainmaker
503,046
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Those windows are certainly not acceptable for bedroom sleeping space.  But safety should be an issue even if you're just using it for play space or office space.  Love your title and your photo is right on.

Feb 08, 2011 11:56 AM #53
Rainmaker
162,957
Diane Lipps
DA Rock of Homes - Broker/Owner/REALTOR (469-879-1301) - Rockwall, TX
Broker "Lake Ray Hubbard Real Estate"

Great info!  That is something I would not have thought offhand about being a hazard, but so true.  I like your diagram also.

Feb 08, 2011 12:13 PM #54
Rainmaker
233,733
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Thanks Steven, that's about the same thing that I do.  If windows are very small, where I don't think someone would be able to get out, I make a bigger deal about it.

Feb 08, 2011 01:04 PM #55
Rainmaker
1,244,953
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Reuben,

Same here, like that window in the photo above at Jame's house, I would certainly go into detail about that.

Feb 08, 2011 01:23 PM #56
Rainmaker
1,244,953
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Reuben,

Same here, like that window in the photo above at James' house, I would certainly go into detail about that.

Feb 08, 2011 01:23 PM #57
Ambassador
2,009,552
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

This is definitely not a good set up for anyone, let alone a child's room.

Feb 08, 2011 01:27 PM #58
Ambassador
464,485
Stacey Smith
Keller Williams Realty - Aliso Viejo, CA
Your Orange County Beach Cities Realtor

Great point... Having big enough windows to be able to climb out if, if the situation calls for it, is very important.Definately an issue of safety.

Feb 08, 2011 01:46 PM #59
Rainer
145,245
Jeanne Kozak
RE/MAX In Action - Martinsburg, WV
REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA

We see so many basements finished with bedrooms that have no way out. I always point this put buyers if that extra bedroom is important...what if there was a fire and the stairs were blocked...most pay attention, some do not

Feb 08, 2011 03:25 PM #60
Rainmaker
65,014
Crystal Pina
774.289.5521 - Worcester, MA
Remax Professional Associates

I understand your POV, but when I was a mom of young kids I worried about them falling out of windows so I always put furniture in front of them that couldn't be climbed on. It happened in my neighborhood once to another family. The child survived but it scared the heck out of me. My daughter lives in a ranch so falling out a window isn't a huge concern. Maybe that's the solution for families with young kids, guide them to buying a ranch?

Feb 08, 2011 03:36 PM #61
Rainer
171,130
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Good one Jim. There are are so many people living in unsafe or at risk conditions it is hard to imagine. How many basement sleepers have no useable secondary exit? Then there are more as your photo shows.

Feb 09, 2011 12:10 AM #62
Rainmaker
844,071
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group - RealtyQuest Team, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Jim -- That is very scary, indeed.  I'll tell you -- that narrow depth bookshelf unit looks like a disaster waiting to happen with an inquisitive, climbing toddler.

Feb 09, 2011 06:30 AM #63
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Suesan, That's a chest freezer. Another great safety feature for a child's bedroom.

Andrea, I have no doubt there were no permits.

Sarah, Safety is the concern with this room.

Lenn, Same thought I had when writing this post.

Mark, Thanks.

Bob, Feel free to use the diagram.

Rob, I don't think the issue occurred to anyone who built these rooms.

Richard, Yep, it-always-happens-to-someone-else thinking can be very dangerous.

Julianne, The important thing is that your son can first escape his room to use the ladder.

Feb 09, 2011 01:35 PM #64
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Harry, Same here.

J. P., Yep, dark too. Like Lenn said, a cell.

Margaret, If the windows large enough no problem, but that doesn't sound like what how it is.

Craig, Well put. No forward thinking in this case.

Nathan, I'm certain there were children sleeping in this room. That's what makes it so terrible.

Bridget, The requirement is for bedrooms only, but yours is a very good point.

Ritu, You're welcome.

Dawn, We should be safety vigilant.

Charlie, Good plan, you're closer to the window :)

Jay, Thanks. It would seem these folks that built this bedroom never considered fire safety either.

Norma, Sounds like many get built with our permits.

Feb 09, 2011 01:45 PM #65
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

A1, Thanks, Our job is to educate.

Jay, Not surprised at all. I had a small transistor radio too!

Jill, Happy you found the post.

Susan, I find this a few times a year and that's a few too many.

William, I know exactly the homes you are talking about. Have inspected a few through the years.

Traci, Planning is important.

Debra, Amazing how complacent some people can be about safety.

Faye, As long as you can safely get there.

Peg, I achieved my goal if I got you to read  the post and it made you think. Thanks for stopping by.

Marian, The bedroom I pictured is illegal too.

Feb 09, 2011 01:58 PM #66
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Bill, The window is just one of several safety issues in that room.

Larry, I can you  they still teach the stop drop and roll. Good safety tips are never obsolete.

Anna, Good story that fortunately for you ended happily that reinforces the point. Thanks for the feature!

Long Beach, There should be no need for a ladder if the window were installed correctly and of the proper dimensions.

Danielle, Great comment. No amount of money is worth someones life.

Tammy, Great planning because you never know.

Janet, They surely had blinders on.

Brenda, Your welcome!

Jan, That was very good of him.

Chris, 19 kids!? Really? Wow, you must need a lot of space.

Steve, Older homes is often where this issue can get a little sticky with regard to the inspection.

Nutsy, That may work in your house, but people need more room to escape.

Feb 09, 2011 02:19 PM #67
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Sarah, I'm glad I made an impression.

Cynthia, Fortunately the family has moved out. I just hope the kids have a safer bedroom in their new home.

Katherine, Bars are supposed to have releases, but they don't always.

Larry, Good point. Never liked basements without an access to the exterior.

RE coaching, Thanks. keep your eyes open out there.

Kathy, Bars make a cell.

Monica, For sure! Talk about adding insult to injury.

Dale, Yes we do.

Reuben, I don't measure the windows, but if a particular one looks unsafe I will examine it more closely. It's becomes a judgement call.

Steve, Great explanation.

Lora, Thanks, It does seem a bit silly that the requirement is for bedrooms only. anyone can be trapped at anytime in that room by a fire.

Diane, Thanks.

Christine, You know I agree.

Stacey, It's a mandatory safety requirement, as it should be.

Jeanne, If it's that important to a buyer an egress window can be installed.

Crystal, I grew up in a ranch with a walkout basement. My bedroom window was pretty high from the ground.

Robert, Thanks. We know how prevalent this is and it's disconcerting.

Barbara, I couldn't agree more.

Feb 09, 2011 02:41 PM #68
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James Quarello

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