No! A surprising number of toddlers who manage to get their way through a window opening to fall to the pavement below live. Something just over three thousand toddlers do this every year in the US.
Kids fall all the time. About 2,300,000 US children (under 14 years old) are treated at a hospital for a fall annually. Of these, a mere eighty die of the fall, though a much larger number are permanently injured or left in persistent vegetative state. Most, more than half, of these child-falls are accounted for by toddlers (age 5 and under).
Falling is patterned. Infants tend to fall from furniture, walkers, and stairs while toddlers tend to fall from windows. Well, the toddlers probably fall from furniture etc. more often, but we’re talking about morbid falls … falls in which there is an injury or a death. Kids older than toddlers tend to get injured from playground falls. It’s mostly toddlers and kids under 10 that do the falling, and of those who are injured or die in a fall two thirds are boys. But lets get back to the window falls, because ’tis the season.
Toddlers fall through windows for several reasons. First, parents or guardians are oblivious to windows as a safety issue, then the toddlers get curious about the windows, the latches, the sashes, and the outside. Adults underestimate the ability of toddlers to get a window open and they over-estimate the size of the hole a toddler has to squeeze through to get out. A toddler only needs five inches or so of gap to get through. Also, parents assume that a screen will stop a child from falling through the window, but this is rarely true. Screens are pretty good at stopping flies and mosquito’s, but not toddlers.
Close to two dozen kids fall through window to their deaths each year in the US, roughly one third of them toddlers. This is a small number. It is worth nothing, however, that there is a temporal pattern to this; As weather warms, careless caregivers allow their toddlers access to unguarded windows and the toddlers (and some older children) start dropping onto the pavement. It starts in warmer areas of the country first, then spreads to cooler areas. Then, the CDC, CPSC, and other agencies issue press releases and local press start to take notice. Eventually, after several instances, one or two more spectacular contrasts hit the news. Perhaps a child falls five floors and toddles away from it unharmed in one place while a different toddler falls from the second floor and is left in a permanent coma in a different place. In any event, the word gets out that toddlers like to go through windows, that screens do not stop them, that they can work cranks and sashes and other devices if they persist, and the carnage then slows as people learn from the tragic experiences of others.
Windows are on the “top five” list of hidden domestic dangers to children, for two reasons. One is for the 3,700 injuries and 8 or 9 deaths from a fall through the window annually, the other is for the dozen or so annual deaths from strangulation from the noose you know of as the window-treatment cord.
Huxley has taken an interest in the windows. We have tall casement windows that he could easily squeeze through. The screen would not hold him. The windows are cranked shut with a removable crank and locked with large lever latches. He mastered the lever latches a long time ago but is probably not strong enough to work the crank. Yet. So, the windows are now closed and the crank has been moved to a safe location. I’m not telling where.
Recent news reports:
- Tot who fell out of Bronx window in critical condition …
- San Mateo toddler falls from second-story window, survives
- NYC toddler critical after 4-story fall
- Toddler falls from fourth floor window
- Toddler Falls From 3rd Floor Window
- TODDLER FALLS: Des Moines boy survives after falling out of three story apartment building
- Toddler falls out 3rd-floor window in Conn., dies
- Local Restaurant to Hold Fundraiser for Recovering Toddler
- Toddler falls out of window
- Mother Charged In Child’s Three-Story Fall
- Toddler Plummeted from UCF Balcony, Sustains Serious Injuries
- Baby Survives Two-Story Fall from Great Falls Home
Sources of information:
- Window Falls Prompts CPSC to Issue Warning
- Preventing Window Falls
- CPSC Urges Parents and Caregivers to Consider Safety Before Opening Windows
- “Top Five Hidden Home Hazards”
A safety film by a window company: