As the weather gets warmer, and families open their windows, they could unknowingly put young children at risk.
Windows are listed as one of the top five hidden home hazards by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and an open window is one of the biggest springtime hazards to young children.
“As far they are concerned, it’s just something else to explore,” says Dr. Alfred Sacchetti, spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians, and Chief of Emergency Medicine at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey. “If it’s the window behind a couch, the child can easily climb up to the back of the couch, they lean on the screen, and out the window they go.”
Becky Turpin, director of Home and Community Safety with the National Safety Council explains that some window falls occur because window screens cannot withstand a child pushing against it.
“I think a lot of parents think that screens keep kids in,” says Turpin. “It keeps the bugs out, but it really isn’t strong enough.”
In just the past two weeks, a 3-year-old fell from a third-story window in New Jersey; a 2-year-old fell from a second-story window in Massachusetts; another 3-year-old fell from a second-story window in Chicago; and, a 2-year-old fell out of a second-floor window in New York City. Fortunately, all four children survived their falls.
But, not all are this lucky. While more than 3,000 children suffer injuries every year from falling out of windows, more than a handful of those falls are actually fatal.