Here in Oregon the Memorial Day holiday weekend began with an incident that is a sad reminder of one of summer’s perils: Oregon injuries to children resulting from window falls. According to The Oregonian “a four-year-old Oregon City girl was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries on Saturday after falling out of a third story window.”
Citing Clackamas fire district officials the newspaper reports that the girl is in good condition, but with the weather warming up this is a sad reminder of the danger window falls can pose to children during the summer months. Regular readers will recall that the Portland area experienced a spate of window falls last year during late June and early July. Hopefully this summer will not see a repeat of these easily preventable accidents.
As a Portland child injury attorney I have long supported, and used this blog to help publicize, SafeKids Oregon’s “Stop at 4” campaign (see link below or this post from last April). As SafeKids Oregon notes, nationwide approximately 3300 children under the age of six fall from windows every year. Many of these falls are from the second or third floor and while we can all be relieved that the Oregon City girl is now described as being in good condition it is also useful to take a moment to remember some of the key facts connected to window falls.
Perhaps most important is a seemingly simple point, one all too easily forgotten: screens are designed to keep bugs out. They cannot, and will not, keep children in. For that reason, SafeKids advises parents to open windows only 4 inches and then to lock them in place. If windows in areas where children may be present must be opened further the organization recommends the installation of window guards accompanied by an emergency release device.
According to Portland TV station KATU the little girl who fell this weekend was very lucky to have landed in a large, soft mound of bark mulch. Because there is no way to count on other children being so lucky during the warm days ahead it is important for all of us – parents and non-parents alike – to be vigilant now and in the future whenever children are near windows that are, or might become, open.
The Oregonian: Oregon City girl transported to hospital after falling out of window
KATU.com: Girl, 4, expected to be OK after fall from third story window
SafeKids Oregon StopAt4 Campaign website