More than 5,000 children and teens in the U.S. end up in the hospital after falling out of windows each year, medical records show. That ends up 14 children per day.
A new study shows that most of the children fall from first and second floor windows. Researchers have found out that over a period of 19 years, the falling rate of children out of windows has dropped only slightly.
Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, studied emergency room data from 1990 through 2008. During that time there were 98,415 children under 18 who were treated in hospital after falling out of the windows, which come to an average of 5,180 children and adolescents per year and is about 7.3 injuries per 100,000 children, Smith and his colleagues noted in the study.
It really is nothing to take comfort in. We continue to see this problem, especially in younger kids, despite the fact that we know how to prevent it, said Dr. Gary Smith, who led the study.
Toddlers accounted for two-thirds of all cases, with the most common injuries in the head and face. The most frequent diagnoses were soft tissue, brain and head traumas. Only two in 1,000 cases were fatal, with most victims falling from the second floor.
We need to look beyond the major cities, Smith remarked. Most children don't live in high-rise apartments, they live in homes.
Smith said the youngest children are curious, don't understand danger, and have a high center of gravity. As they lean over, their high center of gravity will make them topple, he explained to Reuters. They almost invariably land head-first.
It is important for parents to understand that window screens will not prevent a child from falling out of a window, Smith said. There were many children in our study who pushed a screen out of a window and then fell from the window.
The researchers provided preventative tips for falls, Smith said to use window stops and to install window guards on windows on the second story or higher of buildings in which children live or frequent.
Another preventative tip is to make sure that kids don't have an access to a window, by removing furniture they can climb to get there.
The Health Code in New York requires apartment buildings to install guards on all windows in households with kids under 11.
The findings are based on data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and can be found in the journal Pediatrics.