Nearly 5,000 children are hurt in window falls every year in the United States, according to Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. Falls are usually linked to poor window designs, not necessarily poor child supervision.
Traumatic Brain Injury
According to WebMD, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, resulting in 35.2% of the total. Rates are highest for children from birth up to age 4, and for adults 75 and older. TBI is caused by a bump or blow to the head that is severe enough to interrupt normal brain function. If a child falls through a window two stories above ground, chances are he or she will have a concussion, which is the mechanism of injury for the majority of traumatic brain injuries. Annually, among children from birth to age 14, TBI causes an average of 2,174 deaths.
Why Does it Happen?
Falling out of a window occurs more often than people may think. Children, especially toddlers who are experimenting with height and climbing, may be attracted to a deeper windowsill because they are able to sit on their ledges. Windows that have a horizontal slider are easier for children to open than those that open vertically. In addition, screens are not as safe as most would assume, providing a false sense of security and heightened danger for toddlers.
What You Can Do
Installing window guards is an important safety precaution. Window guards are inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware stores. Some are even manufactured specifically for protecting children from falls, but it is important to remember that they must be installed correctly to be effective.
Moving all furniture that could be used for climbing away from the window may also help. The most dangerous types of furniture to have near windows include beds, sofas, and dressers, since young children enjoy climbing or jumping on them.
In most houses, families only lock downstairs windows to prevent theft or burglary. However, this allows children to explore the second and third floor windows, providing opportunities for a fall. It is important to lock all unopened doors and windows, not just those on the lower level.
If possible, open your windows from the top down. If you must open them from the bottom, invest in window-stops that can limit the opening to less than 4 inches, while still being easy to disable quickly in the event of an emergency.
What the Industry Should Do
Windows could be designed for increased safety, specifically when it comes to screens. The difficulty arises in that screens must be easy to remove to meet fire code regulations. However, easy-release screens must be made to accommodate the pressure of a toddler pushing against them.
If your child as experienced traumatic brain injury due to a fall from a faulty window or because of a negligent caregiver contact us. We will consult with you and evaluate your case free of charge, and make sure that your loved one is compensated for the injuries that occurred.