On the average about 5,200 kids fall out of windows each year. This number has been decreasing over time, but still about 0.2% died and 6.5 % occurred from falls greater than 2 stories. Not surprisingly, a majority were boys.
What helped drive the decline are programs such as in New York and Boston, which for high rise buildings, require window guards and locks. These cities have posted an impressive decline in injuries.
Younger children suffer more head injuries and therefore have a higher rate of hospitalization than older kids and adults. Programs to prevent injuries should therefore focus especially on this vulnerable age group.
Here are some of the ways in which injuries can be prevented:
1. Window locks, which prevent kids or some adults from just opening up the windows, without at least considering the consequences of open windows.
2. Window guards do degrade the view somewhat. Consider gazing at that awesome city skyline (a view which added a cool 50k to the price you paid for your pad) through some rather nondescript dark metal bars. Still, for those with toddlers the safety benefits would outweigh the bars.
3. Just as is done in most playgrounds, put grass or other natural padding underneath the windows. Yes, a patio is nice, but perhaps locate it beneath a windowless wall rather than right under the large second floor living room sliding glass door.
4. If you’re on a diet, you shouldn’t have to come home, open your cupboard and see a fresh pack of Oreos. If you’re a kid, the temptation to jump on to furniture such as a bed or chair is great. Try to place these far enough away from windows so that your budding gymnast cannot inadvertently make it through the window.
Another related injury occurs when a kid inadvertently runs through a glass door. If you have a glass door and your kids are like most kids, who want to get out of the house now, put stickums on the glass. This way it will be apparent that it is in fact glass and not just air.