About 5,000 children are treated nationally in hospital emergency departments each year for window fall-related injuries. These falls and injuries tend to be more common during the spring and summer months, since people tend to open their windows during warm weather.
According to Melissa Vanover, fourth-year UC Davis general surgery resident, the fall rate is highest among children younger than 5 years of age. These young children are also at the highest risk for sustaining serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.
The pediatric emergency department at UC Davis Children's Hospital sees about 40 cases of children falling from windows each year. Window screens are not designed to stop a child from falling, reminded Vanover.
Experts recommend the following tips for families:
• Keep windows closed and locked where children are playing.
• Install window guards on all windows on the second story or higher.
• Install locks on sliding windows.
• Move furniture away from windows so children cannot climb on sofas, chairs or tables to access windows.
• Do not leave windows open more than four inches.
• Do not leave young children at home unsupervised.