Each year, almost 5000 children across America fall out of windows and experience either serious injuries or fatalities. About 28% of children who fall out of windows require at least a hospital stay. Window screens simply do not provide enough of a barrier – about 40-60% of children who fall out of windows fall out of windows that have screens.
Now that the weather is warmer, many people across Florida and the nation are throwing open their windows. Unfortunately, in homes with smaller children and toddlers, this simple act can result in serious and even permanent injury. Falls out of windows can result in beck injuries, abdominal injuries, brain injuries, and permanent disability. In cases where children land on a hard surface such as asphalt or concrete, the chances of severe injury and fatality are greater.
Most cases of falls out of windows occur in the spring and summer and the majority happen in a child’s home. Falls out of windows can be a concern in single-family homes. Even a fall out of a first or second-story window can cause serious injury. Obviously, falls out of high-rise apartment buildings tend to be especially tragic.
Parents can help prevent falls out of windows. The main preventative measure is good supervision. Most cases involving falls out of windows occurred when children were alone in the room. Keeping windows closed and keeping furniture away from windows so that children cannot climb to the windows are also good ideas.
Even with good supervision, accidents can happen. One good way to prevent this is by securing windows. Window screens are not adequate and will easily give way under the weight of a child. There are window guards and special safety screens that are available especially to keep children safe. These screens are effective when correctly installed and cost $20-30 in some cases. These screens are usually screwed right into the frame and many come with a safety latch that opens if you need to get rid of the screen quickly during a fire. Many hardware stores sell these items.
In addition to a safety screen, you will also want to secure your window so that it cannot be easily opened. If you have windows that pop out easily for cleaning, consider having extra latches installed to ensure that children cannot pop windows open accidentally. If you have sliding windows, add window stops to ensure that the windows cannot easily be opened.