I have written in the past about the importance of window safety. Too many people forget at this time of year that screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in, and fail to take essential precautions.
This reminder is prompted by a recent report in The Oregonian about a Cedar Mill toddler who “was taken to a local hospital after she punched through a screen and fell from a second-storey window.” Even more frighteningly: “the girl reportedly fell from the window and first landed on a slanted roof. She then rolled off the roof and hit a mix of pavement and bark dust” the paper adds citing local Tualatin Valley first responders.
The child was taken to an area hospital and her injuries are reported not to be life-threatening.
Even the mother of the injured Oregon child acknowledged a hard-learned reality: “bug screens do not keep people indoors,” she told the newspaper. Manufacturers, of course, have an obligation to ensure that their products are safe to use and come with proper instructions. Installers have an obligation to perform their jobs properly and professionally. We must all be on the lookout for unsafe products here in Oregon, because the risk of a serious or catastrophic brain or spinal cord injury is too high if a product malfunctions.
Even the best system will fail, however, if it is not implemented properly. As a Portland child injury attorney one sees cases like this all too often. The important lesson is that everyone involved in the installation and use of a product – manufacturers, installers, end-users, needs to take responsibility for their particular link in the chain. Parents need to keep track of their kids and ensure that they are safe at all times (in this particular case the mother acknowledged to the media that she had left the window open). Manufacturers and contractors need to know that they are selling, or working with, safe products.
Here in Portland, or anywhere else, few things are more traumatic than an avoidable accident that leads to injuries to a child. The first step toward eliminating these does not lie with lawyers or courts. Instead it lies with all of us.
The Oregonian: 18-month-old Cedar Mill girl falls from second-story window