According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 3,300 children younger than 6 fall from windows each year. Approximately eight of these falls will result in death. In support of National Window Safety Week -- April 3 to 9 -- the Tom Sargent Safety Center at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital provides the following tips to prevent window falls:
- Install it. Screens are not strong enough to prevent a child from falling. Installing window guards or stops is the best way to prevent window falls. Experts recommend leaving the guards and stops in place until children are 11.
- Move it. Prevent children from getting to windows by moving items they can climb on away from windows, including beds, dressers and shelves.
- Lock it. Keep windows locked. Only open the windows that children can’t reach. If you have double-hung windows, only open them from the top.
- Teach it. Create a no-play zone by moving all toys and decorations away from windows. Teach children not to play in this area.
If a fall does occur: Don’t try to move your child; call 911 immediately.
“Sadly, we often think of spring as ‘falling season’ because the weather gets warmer, and people begin to open their windows. Children are curious by nature and can easily and quickly fall through an open window,” said Ben Hoffman, M.D., director, Tom Sargent Safety Center at OHSU Doernbecher. “Unfortunately, falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization for children in the U.S. Parents and care providers should consider this and take necessary precautions to prevent potential falls. Using window stops and guards are an easy, cheap and very effective way to decrease the risk of serious injury.”
In addition to these tips, the Tom Sargent Safety Center at OHSU Doernbecher will display window safety information throughout the week. Window safety toolkits are available to interested families, free of charge, while supplies last. For additional information about National Window Safety Week events and resources, visit http://www.ohsu.edu/childsafety or www.stopat4.com.