ó Four young children have been treated at Harborview
Medical Center here in the past month after falling from
windows, prompting health officials to warn parents about the
most common scenario we see here is a kid who is being what
most parents would consider well-supervised," said Dr.
Brian Johnston, chief of pediatrics at Harborview. "They
lean against a window screen, the screen pops out ó and they
fall after it."
year 14 children were treated at Harborview alone after window
falls, officials said. More than 330 children in Washington
were hospitalized after such incidents between 2011 and 2013,
according to the state Trauma Registry.
and state health officials recently held a news conference to
highlight the problem.
Rush, 33, of Issaquah, was among Washington state parents who
never considered the danger of windows until her 5-year-old
daughter fell 15 feet, face-first, onto a concrete slab last
I know is I was sitting downstairs with my son," recalled
Rush. "And the next thing I know, I hear her screaming,
ĎHelp me, Mommy, Iím hurt!í"
suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, damage to her
right eye socket and sinus fractures. The kindergartner had to
undergo surgery to correct the physical problems and still
suffers from anxiety and stress related to the fall, Rush
said the family, including her toddler son, had just moved
into a new town house. Though they had installed other devices
to childproof the home, they didnít think to worry about the
windows, she said.
felt very guilty," Rush recalled. "I felt like I had
let my kids down because I hadnít protected them the way I
statistics show itís a national problem, typically in the
warmer spring and summer months. Nearly 5,200 children are
treated in U.S. emergency rooms after falling out of windows
each year, according to a 2011 study in the journal
than two-thirds of the injuries occur in children younger than
5, and head injuries are common because toddlers and
preschoolers are top-heavy and frequently fall headfirst,
according to the study led by Dr. Gary Smith, director of the
Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Childrenís
Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
springís warm weather may be responsible for the spate of
recent local incidents, said Julie Alonso, the child
injury-prevention specialist for the state Department of
Health. The parents open windows to let in fresh air and
curious kids get too close.
a lack of awareness by parents," Alonso said. "Thereís
a real false sense of security from window screens."
problem is a lack of political will to require all windows to
be installed with guards to prevent falls, Smith said.
always better to design the problem out of existence," he
meantime, parents and others can take action themselves.
Window guards are effective, but they can be expensive and
might not be allowed in rental housing. Window stops that
allow windows to open only a few inches are another option.
health officials recommend the Kid Co Window Stop, which
limits how far a window can open but also allows it to be
released without special tools during an emergency, Alonso
said. Parents who want to order them online can go to the
Rush said she agreed to share her story to protect other
children from getting hurt.
would never have thought of window locks until I knew what I
know now," she said.