Kids and window safety: ‘4 inches is magic number’


On average, 8 children die each year falling out of windows

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Safety advocates say this is the time of the year in the Pacific Northwest when kids get injured by falling from windows. But there are things you can do to prevent this in your home.

It’s a problem emergency responders see every year — children get injured after they try to look out an open window, then push a screen out and tumble.

“It takes very little force to push through the screen and we do see an increase in young ones falling out of upper story windows because of that,” PF&R Lt. Tommy Schroeder told KOIN 6 News. “As the temperatures start to rise we just want to warn parents, if you have any rooms that are more than one story up that 4 inches is kind of the magic number for how wide you should open your window because kids are going to find their way to it.”

The safety advocacy group Stop At 4 says every year in the US more than 3000 children ages 6-and-under fall out of windows. On average, 8 kids die from their injuries.

“Oregon is in a prime position to have a big problem with children falling from windows,” said the organization’s Don Porth. “This is really more common than what the stats tell us.”

The statistics show 70% of falls are from second- or third-story windows. Porth said if there are kids in your home between the ages of 1-5, parents should consider getting a window guard (about $30-$40) or a window stop for about $3. That will limit how far those windows open to prevent a fall.

“It’s like a child resistant pill bottle or a child resistant lighter,” he said. “It takes a certain amount of strength and a certain amount dexterity that children 1 to 5 don’t have, so these devices will keep them from being able to open the window even though an adult can do it.”

Porth said a little prevention can go a long way.

“Kids are a constantly changing target. Their safety needs change all the time, so we just ask parents to be vigiliant.”

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