MAYWOOD, Ill. – Summer is here. As we try to catch a cool breeze, that open window can become a dangerous hazard for children. In fact, emergency rooms treat more than 5,000 children each year for window fall injuries.
“There is nothing like a cool breeze on a hot day, but windows can be extremely dangerous for children, especially young children,” said Bridget Boyd, MD, pediatric safety expert at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Falls from windows cause more serious injuries and deaths than any other type of fall.
“One of the most important things we can do to help prevent falls is to never leave a child unattended by an open window. It may seem like a ‘no brainer,’ but even if you are gone for only a few minutes to answer the door or change the laundry, that can be enough time for a young child to fall,” Boyd said.
Boyd has the following tips:
- Keep furniture away from windows, especially cribs, beds, changing tables, chairs and other furniture that can be used to climb.
- Screens only keep insects out. They don’t keep children in. Use a window guard to ensure children are safe when the windows are open. When purchasing guards make sure there is an emergency release in case of fire.
- If you don’t want to purchase a guard, window stops can be installed that allow them to open up to only 4 inches.
- Keep windows locked when not in use. And do not allow children to play on fire escapes, roofs or balconies.
- If possible, try to have a surface such as shrubs, wood chips or grass beneath windows. This may limit the impact if a fall does occur.
“Fresh air on a hot day is wonderful. Just make sure if there are children in the house that you have safety measures in place to keep them safe from a possible fall,” Boyd said.
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