5 Ways to Prevent Window Falls

5 Ways to Prevent Window Falls

Summer’s coming, and so is a danger you might not give much thought to—window falls. Being aware of how to keep your kids safe near windows is especially important on warm days, when windows are opened for fresh air.

“When I talk with caregivers whose child is admitted after sustaining a window fall, they are often shocked this injury even occurs,” says Raji Koppolu, a nurse practitioner who is a member of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford’s Childhood Injury Prevention Program. She actively works to reduce window falls across the state and region.

Each year in the United States, approximately 3,300 injuries and approximately eight deaths occur in children under age 5 due to window falls. Children 5 and younger are most susceptible. 

“It’s very easy for mobile toddlers to get the leverage they need to pull themselves up and to the edge of a windowsill,” Koppolu says.

One of the greatest concerns with a fall is an intracranial injury. Other potential injuries include fractures, internal injuries, and concussion.

“From birth to age 4, children’s brains grow rapidly, so our worry is a significant head injury that could affect brain development,” Koppolu says. “A fall usually warrants an emergency department visit and sometimes a hospital or ICU admission.”

Here are some simple ways to keep kids safe from window falls:

1. Scan the environment for possible danger.

Take a look around your home. Is a couch, chair, table, or toy box situated under or near a window? If space allows, move furniture away from windows to prevent a child from climbing up on the window’s ledge. (This may not be possible, depending on the setting.)

2. Raise your general awareness about window safety.

When you are traveling or visiting family and friends, get in the habit of turning up your safety radar and taking a mental check of the surroundings, noting the locations of windows. If you are in a crowded environment with distractions, like a party, keep your kids nearby or set them up to play in a safe area.

3.  Create safe windows with safety bumpers and locks.

Get out your ruler, because experts say that 4 inches is the limit for window openings to avoid falls. Any more than that, and an older baby or toddler could squeeze through. You’d be surprised how easy and affordable it is to install suction window bumpers or locks that stop windows from opening beyond a set point. Ensure that an adult can release them in case of emergency, such as having to egress from a fire.

4. Remember, screens keep bugs out, not kids in.

It’s tempting to think that a screen is a blocker, but most screens pop out easily, allowing kids to fall. If you witness a window fall, call 911 immediately and do not move the fallen child, because movement can make an injury worse.

5. Adopt smart habits around windows.

If you have windows that open from the top or bottom, always open them from the top. Make sure to lock and close windows whenever you are not using them. The same goes for balcony doors. Finally, make a “no play zone” around windows, banning play within a 2-foot radius. 

Window falls are more common than most parents think. With these precautions, you have the power to prevent them.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)