Simple steps can help prevent window falls in warm weather

Simple steps can help prevent window falls in warm weather

By: HIPRC Date: May 2nd, 2018

As the weather warms, open windows become a common sight around Seattle. For families with young children, however, pediatricians are asking parents to be mindful of the fall risks that open windows can pose.

Harborview Medical Center sees about 40 to 50 children per year injured by window falls, said HMC Chief of Pediatrics and Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center Associate Member Brian Johnston, M.D.

Among that group, most of the kids are between the ages of 2 and 3, fell out of a screened window and were supervised at the time of the injury.

“About 25% of kids we see end up in our ICU, and a significant number with some disability, so it’s an injury we want to prevent if we can,” he said in an interview with the UW Medicine Newsroom.

He recommends installing window stops, small devices that attach to the window frame and prevent windows from opening more than four inches. He noted that the stops can be quickly disengaged by an adult in an emergency.

Window Safety Tips include:

  • Keep windows closed and locked when not needed for ventilation.
  • Install guards or stops to limit how far windows can open.
  • Avoid relying on window screens to prevent falls – they are not designed to bear the weight of a child.
  • Avoid placing furniture near windows to limit climbing access.
  • Encourage children to play away from windows and doors.

Read more or watch Johnston’s full interview at the UW Medicine Newsroom.