Safeguard your open windows and balconies from kids this summer, paramedics are urging after witnessing two deaths this year.
Eight children have needed specialized treatment at BC Children’s Hospital after falling from them, said trauma manager Michelle Dodds.
“The injuries we see from window falls are devastating for everyone involved,” Dodds said, noting they mainly impact a child’s shoulders, arms and head.
Most falls occur at home when the weather is warm during spring or summer, to children age six and younger, who are crawling or climbing around.
In 2020, 11 children in the province fell from windows between May and September, according to the BC Trauma Registry. This year, the numbers are averaging around the same.
“With the weather heating up, I want to encourage parents and caregivers to keep children safe near windows and balconies,” urges Ryan Stefani, a 15-year paramedic with BC Emergency Health Services.
Because toddlers have a higher centre of gravity, they can easily fall headfirst through a window screen if they lean against it, Stefani said.
“I have responded to these types of calls, where young ones have fallen and sustained serious or even fatal injuries – it’s heart-breaking.”
If a child has fallen more than five feet from a window or balcony and has lost consciousness or is vomiting, call 911.
Dodds said, “our trauma team members train and simulate over and over again to best care for these kids in their ‘golden hour’ of trauma where every minute counts.”
Dodds’ window and balcony safety tips:
– Do not leave children unattended on balconies or decks.
– Move furniture and planters away from windows, railings and door handles and lock balcony doors.
– Install window guards on windows above the ground floor.
– Fasten windows so that they cannot open more than 10 centimeters wide.
– Talk to your children about the dangers of opening or playing near windows.
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