SEATTLE - Washington health officials are warning parents after four children have been treated at Harborview Medical Center in the past month for injuries resulting from falling through windows.
"Every week when I'm on during this time of the year there will be a child who has fallen out of the window," Dr. Beth Ebel with Harborview said. "I just ask you all to put yourself in the position of a parent when that happens and how that feels to you to rush down your stairs or have your neighbor rush in. It is just a terrible thing that I see people beating themselves up about."
According to the state Trauma Registry, more than 330 children in Washington were hospitalized after falling from windows between 2011 and 2013. Many of them were due to kids falling through screens.
"Screens are not protective. Many, the majority of window falls we see are kids falling through the screen," Dr. Ebel said. "That screen is not designed to bear the weight of a child and so the screen and the kid fall out."
A 2011 study in the journal Pediatrics says nearly 5,200 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms after falling out of windows each year. More than two-thirds of the injuries occur in children younger than five and head injuries are common because toddlers and preschoolers are top-heavy and frequently fall headfirst.
Officials are recommending parents purchase window guards that limit how far a window can open.
Central Region EMS and Trauma Council, Safe Kids and their partners want to help keep families keep kids safe by installing window stops. Beginning May 21, families can get free Kidco Window Stops at the following locations: Snoqualmie Fire Department, Maple Valley Fire Department, Shoreline Fire Headquarters, Valley Regional Fire Authority Headquarters and Kent Fire Department.