July 1, 2011

The Portland Fire Bureau is working with an area hospital to raise awareness of the risk of children falling from windows. Their message was driven home by a 2-year-old boy’s accident Sunday, when he suffered serious head injuries and broken teeth in a fall from a second-story window.

The toddler fell 15 feet from his parents’ bedroom window. Firefighters said the boy is the ninth child in Oregon to fall from an upper story window since the beginning of summer. Hospital personnel confirmed that 40 to 50 children visit emergency rooms around the state every year because of a fall from a window.

A hospital safety expert told a gathering this week that screens keep bugs out, but they don’t keep children in. The underlying concern is that parents believe screens are strong enough to protect their children.

Together, hospital staff and fire bureau personnel are encouraging homeowners to install window guards designed to prevent children from falling. They also suggest using stops that prevent lower windows from opening enough for a child to get through — about 4 inches, according to guidelines.

Both the window guards and the window stops are easy to install and easy to operate by adults.

The campaign goes beyond the hardware, of course. The education component is just as important, said a hospital representative. You can buy as many products as you want, but educating both children and adults about safety is key.

A mother whose son died in 2009 after falling from a second story window encourages parents to use everything in their means to protect their children. The objective, she says, is to protect children from hurting themselves. Moving furniture, installing safety latches and window guards are all a part of buying time with your children until they are old enough to protect themselves.

Source: KPTV.com, “2-year-old boy suffers head injury in fall from window,” Jim Hyd, 07/12/2011


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