Accidental falls from windows: is your child at risk?

Experts estimate that over a 19-year period, 98,145 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for injuries sustained in falls from windows.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 78 children under the

Courtesy City of Allentown, PA

age of 12 required emergency care for falls from buildings in 2008. Though there were no deaths, 22 children were hospitalized.

Read more about the “Kids can’t Fly” program that one city instituted to raise awareness about falls from windows.

A new study to be released this week in Pediatrics identifies the risk factors for these injuries. Among the findings:

  • Windows falls occur more frequently during spring and summer months.
  • The rate of injury is higher for children younger than 5 years of age.
  • Children under five were more likely to sustain serious injuries.
  • Falls from three stories or higher combined with a hard landing surface (such as concrete) increased the risk for serious injuries.

Although multilevel homes used to be rare in the Southwest, two-story homes, many with vaulted ceilings, have sprung up in many new Phoenix metro area subdivisions. Because the homes are often built on lands cleared of trees, many homeowners install solar screens to block heat and light.

Solar screens are often installed on the outside of the window frames, and can easily break away from an open window if a child falls against the screen. Read more about how these solar screens changed life forever for the Larsen family of Mesa.

Window fall prevention measures for young children should include the use of window guards or window locks and moving furniture away from windows to decrease a young child’s access.

Questions on window safety? Contact the Safe Kids Arizona Coalition representative.

Another way to reduce injuries is to consider the surface below windows. Landscaping under windows can reduce the impact of a fall and decrease the severity of injury.

RAK Video: Guy Larsen of Mesa shows how the sun screens installed on the windows of his home broke away when his daughter Jessica, then 11, fell through a second-story window.


2 responses to “Accidental falls from windows: is your child at risk?

  1. A great way to strengthen any solar screen is to add a center bracket or rail to strengthen it. I also added an alarm that sounds if the window is opened. I want to ensure that my kids do not fall out the window. It is tragic to hear and read about children being injured this way.

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