With the arrival of summer it is time, once again, to remind every parent (and older sibling) out there of the importance of protecting children from window falls. These tragedies are among the most easily preventable Oregon injuries to children.
The issue is back in the news after two incidents in recent weeks here in Oregon, one of them fatal. Earlier this month a four-year-old North Portland boy died after falling from a 3rd floor window, according to television station KOIN. The station also reports that a Beaverton girl was seriously injured in April after a fall from a second floor window.
As the station notes, “statistics show more than 3000 children under the age of 6 fall from windows every year.” It might have added that window fall incidents regularly rise each summer – making the timing of the station’s report particularly important. What makes these incidents especially heart-breaking is how easily preventable they are. It starts, of course, with education – reminding adults as well as kids that screen windows, which are designed to keep bugs out, are never strong enough to prevent even a relatively small child from falling, and reminding parents that children – small ones especially – need to be watched carefully, and should never be left alone in a room with an unlocked window, let alone an open one.
Window guards are an obvious solution, but some even more basic safety measures can be enough to save a life. Window locks, or even a simple dowel inserted in the window track to prevent it from opening more than a few inches, can do wonders in terms of making a room more safe. I encourage everyone reading this blog to go to the links below for more tips and resources. It is worth adding that builders, window installers and manufacturers can be held liable if their products or work are defective or if, in the case of builders, code violations are found to be present.
As an Oregon child injury attorney I have long worked with SafeKids Oregon to help get the word out about window safety. We should not need tragedies like this month’s death in North Portland to remind us all to do the right thing.
The Oregonian: North Portland boy who died in fall from window identified