Thousands of kids hurt each year by falls out windows

Parents, are your kids' beds placed close to upper-story windows?

A new study published online Monday in Pediatrics (the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) warned about 5,000 children a year are being injured or killed from falls out of windows, and sometimes climbing on furniture is involved.

Children through age 4 who fell out windows were more likely to have head injuries and to be hospitalized or die than older children and teens, researchers found.

In about 4 percent of the cases, kids rolled off beds or climbed on furniture before falling out a window, but the involvement of furniture might be under-reported because this information wasn’t documented for nearly 95 percent of the cases, according to the report.

Another factor that may have been underestimated was children pushing through  window screens before they fell, researchers said. Parents and other caregivers shouldn't depend on screens to protect children from falling out windows,  the authors advised.

Prevention measures for young children to reduce falls should include moving furniture away from windows, using window guards or locks and softening the landing surface below the window, the authors wrote. Because of risky behavior of older children, different prevention measures might be needed, they warned.

The study looked at children treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments over a 19-year period. It was done by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus Ohio. and the Department of Pediatrics and Medical Student Education at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Source: Pediatrics: Pediatric Injuries Attributable to Falls from Windows in the United States in 1990-2009: Vaughn A. Harris, Lynne M. Rochette and Gary A. Smith.
 

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