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Falls from Windows Injure Nearly 100,000 U.S. Children in 19-Year Period

10/22/2011

During a 19-year period, an estimated 98,145 children were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries sustained in falls from windows. 

The study, “Pediatric Injuries Attributable to Falls from Windows in the United States in 1990-2008” is the first study to use a nationally representative sample to identify risk factors and trends for pediatric window fall-related injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments. The authors found that windows falls occur more frequently during spring and summer months. The rate of injury is higher for children younger than 5 years of age, and those children were more likely to sustain serious injuries. In addition to young age, a fall height of three stories or higher and a hard landing surface (such as concrete) increased the risk for serious injuries. 

Window fall prevention measures for young children should include the use of window guards or window locks and moving furniture away from windows to decrease a young child’s access. Another way to reduce injuries is to consider the surface below windows. Simply planting bushes or plant beds under windows can soften the landing surface, reducing impact and the resulting injuries.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.