With spring well under way and summer around the corner it is time again for me to remind readers of the importance of window safety and the crucial work done by SafeKids Oregon.
Earlier this month the country marked National Window Safety Week. As SafeKids noted at the time: “windows rank as one of the top five hidden hazards in the home, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.” The good news is that, the group notes, educational efforts do seem to be having an effect: across Oregon “the number of children falling from windows and being admitted to the trauma system (dropped) from a high of 52 children in 2010 to 26 children in 2015.”
While that progress is excellent, more still needs to be done. As SafeKids notes: “Window falls are a preventable cause of injury and death to young children” and the basic ways of stopping them are simple. Parents should remember to keep windows closed and locked when they are not in use, to make sure that children play a safe distance away from open windows and, most importantly, to “stop at 4” – meaning to ensure that open windows are limited to a four inch gap and held in place by window guards (to prevent children from opening them further). Another important tip: if a window can be opened from both the top and the bottom secure the bottom closed and open it only from the top.
The page linked below includes a link to a flyer titled “Window Safety: Key Messages.” I urge everyone reading this who may have children in their homes this summer to download and read it. As a Portland lawyer with a practice focusing on injuries to children I am eager to do everything I can to support SafeKids and to help them get their message out about this and other important issues. The progress SafeKids has made over the last six years in cutting the number of Oregon child window falls in half is something we can and should all work to build on. This is, perhaps, the most easily preventable of home tragedies and with the solutions so simple there is no reason we should not be able to reduce the statewide number to zero.
SafeKids Oregon: National Window Safety Week