WASHINGTON (7News) — With spring in full swing, you might be ready to let some fresh air in by opening the windows but a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital wants parents to be aware of some of the dangers.
Windows are among the five top hidden hazards in the home, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Around 3,300 children are injured by falling from windows every year an on average, eight kids aged 5 and under die.
“I think we should always think about a child’s natural curiosity. They want to look out that window, that’s where a lot of the cool stuff is but we can both indulge that but also keep our kids safe with some pretty simple tools,” said Children’s National Hospital pediatric emergency medicine physician Dr. Kate Donnelly.
Screens are flexible and not designed as a preventative measure to keep kids safe. In 2020, a 2-year-old boy died after falling from a third-floor window in Takoma Park. The year prior, a toddler survived an 11-story fall.
“My line is always, ‘Screens keep bugs out, not kids in,’” Dr. Donnelly told 7News Health Reporter Victoria Sanchez.
“For people who might be hearing this and say, ‘Well, I only have a two-story house, or my apartment is on the second floor, I don’t have to worry about this.’ Is that true?” Sanchez asked.
“That is not true. Even a fall from a two-story window can be risky to life or life-altering. We’ve definitely seen kids who’ve survived a fall out of a second-story window but have broken bones or head injuries. You know, really serious complications,” said Dr. Donnelly.
According to SafeKids.org, 70% of parents surveyed said they’ve never used window guards to prevent falls. Donnelly said it’s inexpensive and it’s easy to install the devices that can be purchased online or at home improvement stores. Guards can prevent the window from opening more than a few inches and still allow fresh air to come in.
As of Jan. 1, Montgomery County’s ‘Window Safety Act’ mandates landlords must provide free window guards to tenants and install them if a child under the age of 10 lives there.