Warm Weather Leads to Open Windows, and Big Safety Concern
As winter turns to spring and the temperatures begin to rise, many people will want to open their windows to let in some fresh air. Unfortunately, this simple act can have serious safety risks for children, if parents don't take basic precautions. According to data from a study published in the journal Pediatrics, approximately 5,000 children are treated in emergency departments each year for injuries sustained from falling out a window. The risk is highest for children under the age of five.
The Pediatric Trauma Registry at Hasbro Children's Hospital shows that the hospital's emergency department sees children every year with injuries sustained from falling out a window. The injuries associated with window falls can be very serious, including head injuries, broken bones and internal organ injuries.
"Some urban centers like Boston and New York have regulations and policies in place regarding the use of window guards, but there are no such policies in Rhode Island," said Dina Morrissey, M.D., program coordinator for the Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital. "We want to help parents to recognize the potential dangers, and urge them to take some basic precautions that could prevent a serious injury to their child."
The Injury Prevention Center offers the following safety tips to help prevent unintentional injuries from window falls:
- Always lock unopened windows.
- Do not place beds, furniture, or other items that children can climb on, directly under windows.
- Open windows from the top if possible.
- Do not open windows more than four inches.
- Screens keep bugs out, but they DO NOT keep children from falling.
- Install window guards (available at local hardware stores).
- The risk is not limited to high rise apartment buildings. Ninety four percent of falls occur from first or second story windows.
- Always supervise young children