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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Falls from Windows - Children Still Can't Fly

By August 22, 2011

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We are getting a lot of warnings this summer about dangers to our kids.

Unfortunately, many of the ones that get the most attention aren't always the ones that are most common.

Recent deaths from falls in national parks and at Niagara Falls have gotten a lot more media attention than the much more common incidents involving falls from windows.

Because they aren't in the news as often, it is easy to forget that about 100 children die from falls each year, including falls from windows.

A new article that will be printed in the September issue of Pediatrics, "Pediatric Injuries Attributable to Falls From Windows in the United States in 1990-2008," found that window fall-related injuries "are an important pediatric public health problem.

In examining emergency department data records, they found that:

  • about 5,180 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms because of window falls
  • most falls were in kids less than four years old
  • window falls are most common during the months of April to September, with a peak during the summer months
  • a window screen was in place in many of the incidents
  • most of the falls were just 1-story or 2-story falls

Although there have been some dramatic decreases in the incidence of window falls in a few cities, namely New York City and Boston, where they implemented their "Children Can't Fly" and "Kids Can't Fly" programs, statistics haven't changed much in the past ten years.

To help decrease falls from windows, these researchers recommend that "Prevention measures for young children should aim to prevent falls by reducing the child's opportunity to exit the window, through the use of devices such as window guards or window locks and through placement of furniture away from windows, to decrease access to windows by young children."

They also suggest that "Prevention measures for all children should address softening the landing surfaces below windows, to help reduce the severity of injury when a fall does occur. "

Before you think about opening your windows, remember that while your kids can't fly, they will have no problem falling.

Protect your kids from window falls.

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