Having children brings with it a host of hopes and fears. Every hopeful parent wishes for a happy and healthy child, and dreams of all the joys a new baby will bring. But with this anticipation also comes concerns about childhood dangers. Particularly once children begin crawling and walking, their innocent curiosity and lack of dexterity means they are easily injured. For parents, it can be hard to think of every detail, and children are notorious about finding even the tiniest overlooked pitfall. Most parents educate themselves about these dangers and take precautions to safe guard their homes. However, a recent study reveals that too often caregivers are overlooking a major cause of injury to children: falls from windows.
The statistics are devastating. Among children ages 1-14, accidents are the leading cause of death. Children under the age of four account for about half of all accidental fatalities, with more children between the ages of one to four lost to accidents than illness. And most of those accidents occur in the home. Common among all types of childhood injuries are falls, with which any parent is all-too familiar. While most falls seldom result in anything more serious than a skinned knee, too often the results can be serious. Such is the case for children who fall out of windows. These falls may occur more than parents are aware. A recent study released by the U.S. Product Safety Commission shows that over 5,000 children annually are treated in emergency rooms for falls from windows. The study also showed that about 65% of those children were under the age of four, whose injuries tended to be more serious and more often resulting in hospitalization or death.
One common cause of these falls was improperly secured windows. For instance, homeowners and caregivers too often assume that a screened window provides a secure barrier. However, most screens cannot hold up to the weight of even a small child, nor are they meant to. The study showed that in 83% of the reported falls, window screens were on the window that was fallen through. Also, a homeowner should not assume a child will not or cannot open a window. Homes with children should have its windows locked and include child-proof window stops that will keep a window from being opened over four inches. Additionally, remove all furniture away from windows. A child who falls while climbing or sitting on furniture can easily fall through even a closed window.
As always, the best protection against window falls is teaching and supervision. Though the information may not initially sink in, start teaching even the youngest child the importance of window safety. Supervision is also vital. A child should never be left alone near an open window (even one with secure locks), and should be regularly supervised near even locked windows. Also, it’s important to be aware of other homes your child may be visiting. While it can be embarrassing to ask a friend or family member to better secure their windows, you will not only be protecting a child, but possibly preventing the homeowner from being held liable if a fall does occur. If your child is injured due to the negligence of another or as a result of a defective window, contact an Illinois personal injury attorney who can provide assistance.
About the Author: Brooke Haley marketing associate at Millon & Peskin, Chicago workers compensation attorney that practice in the areas of Civil Litigation, Workers’ Compensation, and Personal Injury. Millon & Peskin is a General Civil Litigation Practice with the goal of representing the interests of injured workers, throughout all applicable Courts within the State of Illinois. For more information, please visit http://www.millonpeskin.com.