Why Windows Are a Hazard to Young Children

A child’s window to the world can also be a hazard. Every year children are injured from falls or drapery cord strangulation.

Right across North America, injuries due to falls are one of the main reasons for children being admitted to hospitals. It may be a fall from a change table, slipping on a kitchen floor or a fall from a window. During the warmer months of spring and summer, when windows are often left open, incidents of children falling out of them increases dramatically and results in some pretty serious injuries, explains child safety advocate, Anne Williams. “Falls from windows result in the most serious injuries such as broken arms, legs and head injuries. A lot of the kids who fall through windows fall through screens. Screens themselves are not enough to prevent a child from falling out of a window.”

Williams says these falls are easy to prevent once you realize how they occur. “The normal scenario that results in a fall from a window is that a piece of furniture such as a dresser or bed is placed under a window. The child climbs onto that piece of furniture to see out of the window and then falls. You can fall 2 feet and still have a head injury. So the height of the window is not as important as making sure that it’s locked. However, if your window is locked at 4 inches or 10 centimeters, your child won’t be able to squeeze through.”

Another hazard with windows are the drapery and blind cords. It’s important to always keep these cords out of a child’s reach and away from their crib or bed, says pediatrician Dr. Marvin Gans.”There certainly have been reported deaths of children who have got the drapery or Venetian cord tangled in their neck. This becomes especially important in the summertime when you may put the blind up.”

Finally Dr. Gans reminds us that there are other ways children can strangle themselves if we’re not vigilant. “It’s important that children in bed don’t have necklaces, scarves or pacifiers dangling from their neck. These could get caught on the corner of their crib and cause harm. It’s important that mobiles are out of the reach of the baby so that they can’t yank off a piece of toy or plastic and get it into their mouth.”

Preventing a tragedy can be as simple as taking the time now to double check your windows and drapery cords to ensure that they’re child-safe.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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