Injuries Rise Among Children From Falls From Windows in Summer

Angel Law, P.C.Reminds Families About Danger of Open Windows

Two more children fell out windows in Oregon at the end of June, 2012. A 16 month old fell about 20 feet through a window screen in Oregon City around 1p.m. one afternoon, and later a five year old child fell out of a window in Sunnyside, which is also in Clackamas County. Both children were taken to the hospital for injuries. Only two days earlier a four year old had fallen through a window screen in Happy Valley and was also taken to a nearby hospital.

As temperatures in the Portland metro area heat up, the seasonal danger of children falling from windows rises. Because the Summer months are comparatively mild, many Portland area residents do not have air conditioning since many view it as unnecessary. As a consequence, open windows in homes all over Portland can present a danger for children who don't understand the limitations of window screens.

The Pediatrics journal recently reported that nearly 100,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for injuries suffered from falls from windows between the years 1990 and 2008. It is estimated that about 5,000 children are still treated every year in hospital emergency rooms from window falls across the country. The majority of falls occur in younger children with the highest rate of injury for 2 year olds who cannot appreciate the danger of an open window.

Sadly, some parents also fail to understand that a window screen does not offer reliable protection against falls even for small children. There's a misconception among some parents who believe their toddler is too small to push through the window screen. But emergency room statics tell a different story.

Parents can take some simple measures to reduce the risk of falls from open windows.

  • Use window guards or other devices that prevent the window from opening more than 4 inches.
  • Make sure furniture is moved away from windows that toddlers might use to climb onto the window opening.
  • Plant bushes or flower beds outside of windows; remarkably, the cushioning effect from bushes and flower beds is believed by experts to greatly reduce the degree of injuries in many cases when a child does fall.
  • Educate children. Make sure your child understands the important of not playing around or climbing on open window spaces.
  • When possible open windows from the top instead of the bottom if the design of the window permits the option.
  • Supervise young children at all times when windows are open in the house.

Angel Law, P.C.'s Portland personal injury attorneys hope Oregon families will take a moment this summer to pause and appreciate the risks that open or unlocked windows can present to young children. Close supervision and window guards may be the best measures parents can take to prevent their children from unnecessary window falls.