As warmer weather approaches, doctors are warning parents about the dangers of kids falling from windows.
Harborview Medical Center in Seattle says it has seen eight cases this year of children falling out of windows. Doctors typically see 40 to 50 cases each year for injuries in those falls.
Most of those window falls are because curious toddlers push on screens, a release from UW Medicine states. They are designed to keep out insects but will not reliably bear the weight of a child.
Dr. Brian Johnston, chief of pediatrics at Harborview Medical Center and professor of pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine advises parents to purchase small, inexpensive devices called window stops. Parents can attach the stops to a window frame that will prevent the window from opening any further but still provides ventilation on hot days.
Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries for people 19 and younger with 2.8 million ER visits in 2010 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, these are largely preventable according to experts.
Safe Kids Seattle and South King County, an injury-prevention coalition led by Harborview, lists several steps to help keep children safe around windows:
- Keep windows closed and locked when ventilation is not required
- Install guards or stops to limit windows from opening more than 4 inches
- Never expect window screens to keep children safe
- Avoiding placing furniture near windows to limit climbing access
- Keep play areas away from open windows and doors