Windows present a serious danger to children
Every year, thousands of children are injured from falling out of windows. Don't overlook this obvious and very real danger to your children.
Windows allow light and fresh air into our homes. They also present a huge danger to our children. It seems so obvious, and yet it's very easy to overlook. Between 1990 and 2008, almost 100,000 children were treated in Emergency Departments for injuries sustained in falls from windows. And don't think that your baby is perfectly safe if you live in a one-story home.
Thousands of falls each year
"We still are seeing over 5,000 children a year treated in hospital emergency departments across the country for injuries related to window falls, said Dr. Gary A. Smith, the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the author of that study. "That's 14 children a day. This continues to be a very common, important problem."
Two-thirds of the children who fell from windows were between the ages and zero and four years old. The highest rate of injuries occurred to children who were two years old, and boys fell from windows more often than girls.
Older children who fall from windows are more likely to sustain arm and leg fractures, while younger children are more likely to sustain head and face injuries.
The fact that two-year-olds fall most often makes sense. "These are kids who don't recognize danger -- they're curious, they want to explore and when they see an open window, they are going to investigate," Smith said. "Kids at that age tend to be top heavy. Their center of gravity is up near their chest and so as they lean out of the window to see what's going on, they'll topple."
Falls from ordinary homes and apartments
Interestingly, the children who fall from windows tend to do so from the first or second story in homes or regular apartments, not necessarily tall multi-story buildings.
"What we're finding is that most of these aren't these really high-rise buildings," Smith said. "These are just often homes or apartments that aren't high-rise, where children live. This is a problem that extends to small towns and even rural areas across the country."
Prevent the falls
Smith gives some pretty basic, yet clearly necessary, tips for preventing falls from windows.
- Do not leave windows open more than four inches
- Install window locks or guards on all windows that your children can access
- Do not keep any furniture that your children can climb near the windows
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