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When the Bough Breaks: 4 Ways to Prevent Your Toddler from Becoming a Statistic

Tim Boyer's picture

According to new study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy, from 1990 to 2008 an average of 5,200 children and adolescents less than 18 years of age were treated yearly in emergency rooms for injuries sustained from falls through a window. Of those injured, over 65% were infants and toddlers ranging from 0 to 4 years of age. Due to their high center of gravity, the most common injury for children in this age group is blunt force trauma to the head and face with resulting soft tissue and brain/head injuries. While the majority of falls are non-fatal, the risk of a fatality increases significantly with falls greater than two stories and when the surface below is concrete or brick.

One of the reasons why many toddlers fall through open windows is because of the mistaken belief held by many parents that a window screen offers protection. In truth, as demonstrated during an episode of ABC News Good Morning America, screens pop out easily when a 16-pound bag of rock salt is tossed lightly against a screen.

To protect your child from falling through an open window, follow the four preventive measures suggested by the Center for Injury Research and Policy:

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Tip #1: Install window guards on all 2nd-story and higher windows in homes where children live or visit. The window guards must be the type that possesses quick-release latches in case of fire or other emergencies.

Tip #2: Install window stops that prevent a window from opening more than 4 inches. An opening over 4 inches runs the risk of a small head stuck in an awkward and painful position.

Tip #3: Move all furniture or other objects away from windows. Children are curious and natural climbers and will attempt to get a better view of what’s going on outside.

Tip #4: Plant bushes or flower beds directly below windows to cushion an accidental fall. A soft landing will reduce the severity of a fall-related injury.

Source: Injury Research