More Than 5,000 Kids Fall From Windows Annually

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 12:07pm

During the summer parents often open windows to cool down the house -- little do they know that simple act is putting their kids at risk for serious injury.

Thousands of kids are rushed to the emergency room each year after falling out of an open window.The Bachers of Washington State thought their young sons were asleep in their second-story bedroom until they heard a terrible thud.

"That was the worst moment of our lives. We opened the door and boys were on the concrete patio behind the house," says Kevin Backer, father.

David and Daniel had leaned on a window screen and fell through. David recovered quickly, but Daniel needed years of therapy.

Dr. Gary Smith of Nationwide Children's Hospital studied the emergency room records of children treated for falls from windows over a nineteen year period.

"And what we found is that there are over 5,000 children rushed to ER each year for falls from windows. That equals 14 children a day," says Dr. Smith.

Most of the cases were among boys under the age of five. A quarter of the children needed to be hospitalized. And a majority of injuries took place in suburban, two-story homes, not big city high-rises. Dr. Smith says window screens offer a false sense of security.

"When we had information about screens, over 80% of the time the child fell through the screen, so they simply won't prevent a child from falling out of a window," says Dr. Smith.

The best way to prevent falls is to install window guards or window stops on all second-story or higher windows, and to move furniture away from windows. An easy and often affordable fix, experts say to keep our young, energetic explorers safe. Campaigns promoting window safety in New York City and Boston resulted in a dramatic reduction in kids' falls and experts are calling on these programs to be implemented nationwide.

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