Windows Pose Safety Risk for Young Children, Experts
FRIDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Along with rising summer
temperatures, the number of youngsters injured after falling from
an open window also increases, experts say, with many children
Each year, roughly 3,300 children aged 5 years and younger are
treated for falls from windows, according to the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission. Up to age 5 years, the majority of a
child's weight is concentrated in the head. As a result, if these
young children lean out a window, they are at greater risk for
falling, doctors at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's
"Children younger than 5 are particularly curious about their environment and the events happening outside of a window are a natural draw for a child's attention," Dr. Michelle Macy, clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a university news release. "Relatively large heads make it difficult for them to keep their balance, which is particularly true when they are leaning forward, like they do when trying to look out a window."
Window screens are not a solution to this safety problem, the
experts warned. "A screen is not a safety device," Amy Teddy,
Injury Prevention Program manager at Mott, stated in the news
release. "They're designed to keep bugs out, but not to keep
There are, however, more effective ways parents and other
caregivers can help keep children safe this summer and avoid
potentially fatal falls from windows. Health care professionals
offer the following recommendations:
- Supervise. Parents or caregivers should keep their eyes and
attention focused on children when they are around open
- Move furniture away from the window. Placing a crib, bed or
even a chair next to a window could enable small children to climb
onto the window's ledge and gain easier access to the window
- Minimize openings. Make sure windows on upper floors are closed
or never open more than a few inches. As a rule of thumb, if
children can fit their head through the open space, they can fall
- Lock them up. Keep windows closed and locked when they are not
"Bottom line, parents need to take extra precautions around windows and keep young children within arms' reach when windows are open," concluded Macy.
The medical experts at Mott also noted that if a child does fall
from a window, call 911 immediately. Never attempt to move a child
who appears to be seriously injured, they added.
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides more tips on
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