5,000+ Children Injured In Window Falls Annually

Shockingly, over 5,100 American children are treated in hospitals over falls out of windows. About 25 percent of these injuries are serious enough to warrant hospitalization. Reuters wrote that the first nationwide study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics, of the issue found that the problem has not improved in about 20 years.

“It really is nothing to take comfort in,” said Dr. Gary Smith, head of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, wrote Reuters. “We continue to see this problem, especially in younger kids, despite the fact that we know how to prevent it,” he added, said Reuters, which noted that Smith led the recent research.

Nearly 99,000 children, all under the age of 18, were treated for injuries suffered from falls from windows between 1990 and 2008, said Reuters. The analysis of 98,415 children’s cases was included in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, noted Reuters.

According to Smith and his team, reporting in the journal, Pediatrics, the figures break down to 7.3 injuries for every 100,000 children. The Consumerist pointed out that this all translates to about 14 children falling out of windows each day.

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, young children represented the largest demographic suffering injuries, totaling about two-thirds of the total cases. Smith feels toddlers are at greater risk because not only are they curious and they don’t understand the notion of danger, but because they have a higher gravitational center, wrote Reuters.

According to Smith, “As they lean over, their high center of gravity will make them topple…. They almost invariably land head-first,” reported Reuters. While about 2 of every 1,000 cases results in death, about half of the children suffered facial or head damage. Most falls took place from the second floor, noted Reuters.

“We need to look beyond the major cities,” Smith said. “Most children don’t live in high-rise apartments, they live in homes,” added Smith, pointing out that these accidents are happening in children’s homes, wrote Reuters.

Smith warns families to make sure that children don’t have easy window access, noting, for example, to move furniture away from windows and to install window guards and stops, which are actually required in some cities, such as Manhattan, explained Reuters.

In New York City the Health Code mandates that apartment buildings be installed with guards on all windows in which children under the age of 11 reside, said Reuters. In some cities, said The Consumerist, programs exist such as “Children Can’t Fly” and “Kids Can’t Fly” in Boston that promote public awareness and safety measures. 

“Parents need to remember that window screens simply won’t be enough,” Smith warned, said Reuters. “We need to take the model [New York and Boston] used and implement that across the country,” said Smith. “It’s a problem occurring not just in major metropolitan areas. Any home that has a second-floor window is a potential risk to a child,” he added, wrote The Consumerist.

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