Windows are common structural elements, but they also pose a fall hazard to children; in particular, young children and those living in lower income households are at risk.
Increased Risk Recorded Among Children Living in Apartments
“Window falls are a major cause of injuries and death in children, especially those living in urban areas.” – Dr. Wendy Pomerantz, emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
According to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the majority of children falling from windows incidents happen in low-income neighborhoods. Common elements include unsatisfactory window construction, poor housing conditions, and a lack of air conditioning.
Children living in apartment buildings are 5 times more likely to fall from windows than those living in any other type of residence.
Window Fall Injury Statistics
- Injuries occurring due to window falls vary in severity based on the rate, height, and force of impact. The surface which the child lands on is also a factor.
- Approximately 15,000 children are injured in window falls every year.
- Another 15 to 20 children, under the age of 11, die annually.
- Risk of death increases as the height of the fall increases.
Preventing Window Falls
Window screens do not protect against falls and should not be depended on to do so. Instead, use window guards and stops. Window guards prevent children from leaning out of the windows and window stops allow the window to open only a few inches; effectively keeping children from falling.
Cribs should never be placed next to windows. Further, children should be monitored at all times when possible. Or can be left in an enclosed area such as a playpen or crib until possible.
If a fall does occur, precautions should be taken such as seeking medical attention if the child is visibly hurt or even acting differently.