The Snoqualmie Fire Department has started their annual child safety initiative focused on preventing pediatric window falls.
As the temperatures rise in the summer months, Harborview Medical Center in Seattle reports a spike in pediatric patients (average 150 per year) who have fallen from a window above the first story.
Many of these children experience life-threatening injuries leading to a long recovery or worse. The recurring theme from these patients is that it is a 100 percent preventable injury.
Homes with second and third story windows can pose a fall-risk hazard for young children. Most window falls occur to children ages two to five. Screens are not designed to withstand the weight of a child – they are intended only as insect screens and are designed to be easily removed.
To protect children, make sure windows can’t be opened more than four inches. Newer homes may have built-in limiters; however, for most windows, a window stop or window guard should be installed.
Safety tips include:
- Keep furniture and anything a child can climb on away from windows.
- Only allow windows to open four inches or less and install window stops or guards to keep children from opening them further. (Be sure an adult can open them in an emergency.)
- Teach your children to play a safe distance from any window and remind them “Screens keep bugs out; they do not keep kids in.”
- Remember windows also serve as an emergency escape. Be sure windows can open without special knowledge or tools.
- When buying new windows, ask for ones with built in 4-inch limiters.
The Snoqualmie Fire Department will be providing, free of charge, a set of KidCo Window Stops. These window stops aren’t meant to be a sole source of protection; however, it’s a start. Every year, the Snoqualmie Fire Department receives two or three of these types of calls. With locals’ help, the fire department can drop that number to zero.
The stops will be available during normal business hours in the front office of the Snoqualmie Fire Station while supplies last. For more information, call (425) 888-1551 or email Lieutenant Jake Fouts at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who cannot come to the Snoqualmie Fire Station, you can also find the window stops at Target, Home Depot, and various other local retailers.