Written by Faith Anderson on August 24, 2011
Pediatrics Window Fall Study
Researchers involved in the new Pediatrics study reviewed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which is maintained by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The group monitors injuries involving consumer products which are treated in emergency departments nationwide. Researchers divided data from almost 4,000 patients into two groups: 0-4 years and 5-17 years, and found that younger children made up two-thirds of the injuries, with the injury rate highest at age two. According to the study, boys were involved in more falls from windows than girls were. Dr. Smith explains that these are children who are curious and don’t recognize the danger posed by an open window. Young children also tend to be top-heavy, with their center of gravity up near their chest, which may cause them to topple if they lean out an open window. While a few children involved in the study fell from a third-story window, many more fell from a first- or second-story window and sustained serious injuries.
Recommendations for Parents of Young Children
Researchers have advised parents of children younger than five to use window locks or guards and not to allow any window to be open more than four inches. In addition, parents should move furniture away from windows so children cannot climb on it and gain access to an open window. Parents of children older than five should educate them about the risk of climbing out of a window or jumping from it. According to the study, some cities like Boston and New York have implemented programs to combat the problem of serious window falls, which led to great reductions in this type of accident in those areas. These programs involved educating parents and the community about the importance of protecting children from falling out of open windows, as well as making window guards readily available to parents of young children. In fact, window guards became mandatory in New York City apartments where young children lived. Researchers involved in the Pediatrics study noted that there were limitations with the set of data reviewed, especially with fatality numbers, which doesn’t adequately represent the prevalence and serious nature of window falls.