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Good tips to help prevent child injury from window falls | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – With temperatures on the rise and household windows opening up wider to let in the fresh air, pediatric safety experts are offering child safety tips — and a free visual reminder for their windows — to prevent accidental window falls and traumatic injuries.

“Open windows can be a hidden fall hazard for children,” said Michelle Jamison, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “Window screens often give way when even tiny hands push on them, and the consequences can be tragic. It’s important to remember that window screens keep bugs out, but they don’t keep kids in.”

Thousands of children each year are injured from falling out of windows in the United States.

Primary Children’s Hospital treats an average 28 children each year for injuries suffered from window falls. These children are most commonly between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, and their injuries are getting more serious.

Between 2021 and 2022, injury severity increased nearly 60 percent, including one fatality. During that same time, trauma experts at Intermountain Riverton Hospital treated three patients who had fallen from windows – triple the number of window falls injuries typically seen in a year.

“Our trauma program examines data and uses community outreach to improve the health of our communities and the level of care patients receive at Riverton Hospital,” said Spencer Proctor, MD, emergency department and trauma medical director at Intermountain Riverton Hospital.

“This increase in window falls inspired us to act,” Dr. Proctor added. “These are preventable injuries, but you first have to know how to prevent them.”

One of the children injured in 2021 was Jazarah Staton, who fell from her second-story bedroom window when she was 3 years old.

Late one summer night, Jazarah’s dad Tariq Staton heard a thud on the garage door, just below Jazarah’s bedroom. He rushed to Jazarah’s room, and could hear her crying from far away. He noticed the window was open, and that the lower corner of the screen had popped out.

“He ran in our bedroom and said, Jazarah fell out the window,” Jazarah’s mom, Shayna, recalled. “I was fearing the worst of the worst.”

The parents raced outside. “It looked like she’d opened and fallen out of her window, that the car broke her fall, and then she slid down and hit the garage door,” Tariq said. “We found her on the ground, crying.”

A CT scan at Riverton Hospital found Jazarah had a traumatic brain injury. She was diagnosed with a frontal skull fracture and a minor brain bleed, and transferred to Primary Children’s Hospital by ambulance for more trauma assessments to confirm she had no additional injuries.

Once released, Jazarah returned to Primary Children’s for follow-up tests and speech therapy to ensure the traumatic brain injury didn’t cause cognitive disabilities or memory loss.

As she healed, Jazarah had to sit out of the activities she loves, like swimming and riding her bike, due to concussion protocols that required she keep both feet on the ground for up to three months to prevent any additional brain injuries, which would be more severe. It was difficult for Jazarah, but worth it, her mom said.

Today, Jazarah remains an active 5-year-old who loves preschool, building things, superheroes, and science projects.

“We haven’t noticed any lingering effects,” Shayna said. “She still talks about it. She remembers pushing up against the screen and falling out, but not when she landed. We are so lucky she’s okay.”

The Statons purchased window locks for their home, ensuring they cannot open more than a few inches without a parent’s help. They also are urging people to remove furniture and other items kids can climb on from areas around windows to prevent accidental falls. 

Window screens give a false sense of security, as they will pop out even with moderate pressure, Jamison said. Window screens are designed to easily pop out in case of a fire or other emergency to help people escape.

“The best way to keep children safe from window falls is to remember the 4-Inch rule,” Jamison said. “We should open our home windows no more than 4 inches to prevent falls.”

Primary Children’s is offering free window clings to help people remember the four-inch rule.

The window clings can be placed on windows where people will see them as they go to open their windows. They are about four inches wide, and include an image reminding people to only open windows four inches or less.

The window clings come in English and in Spanish, and will be mailed free while supplies last. To get one, fill out a request form at primarychildrens.org/safety.

Here are some additional tips for preventing window falls:

  • Keep windows closed and locked.
  • Before opening a window, make sure it is inaccessible to children.
  • Open windows no more than 4 inches.
  • Keep furniture or anything children can climb on away from windows.
  • Teach children only to open windows with permission and help from adults.
  • Consider installing window locks, guards, or other safety equipment to prevent children from opening windows too wide.
  • Supervise children around open windows.

For more safety tips or to request free window clings, go to primarychildrens.org/safety.

Sponsored by Intermountain Health.


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