Prevent Window Falls

Summer Weather and Open Windows Can be a Hazard to Children

June 30, 2010

Every year, about 50 children under the age of 13 in Oregon are entered into the Trauma System for a fall from an open window.  Warm weather brings open windows, which can be a safety hazard in second-story bedrooms.  Screens are designed to keep bugs out, not kids in.  Safe Kids recommends that adults install window guards on all second-story bedroom windows. Window guards and window stops allow windows to be opened up to 4 inches, enough to allow for air circulation, but not enough for a child to fall through. Window guards were shown to reduce window fall-related deaths by up to 35 percent as part of a pilot program in New York City.

Safe Kids reminds parents and caregivers that:

• Window guards should be used that are designed with an emergency release device in case of fire. 

• Window stops allow windows to open no more than 4 inches.

• Second story and above windows should be locked and closed when they are not being used.

• Move all furniture away from windows so kids can’t climb up the window and push on the screen.

• If you have double-hung windows — the kind that can open down from the top as well as up from the bottom — it is generally safe to open the top pane.

• Never try to move a child who appears to be seriously injured after a fall — call 911 and let trained medical personnel move the child with proper precautions.

For more information about window safety and falls, visit www.safekids.org.   Or, contact the safety experts at the Safety Store at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, or the Doernbecher Children’s Safety Center at OHSU.

Safe Kids Oregon works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under.  Safe Kids Oregon is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Oregon was founded in 1995 and is led by Oregon Public Health Division.

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