Child injured in fall highlights dangers of open windows in warmer temperatures

A 2-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital Wednesday night after falling through an open window and screen, and then fell more than 14-feet onto the ground.

It’s a tragedy that happens all too often when the weather heats up.

“I think parents aren't always aware of the danger of an open window,” said Leslie Hynes from South County Fire. “Children are curious."

Every time the temperatures soar, fire departments know curious toddlers end up getting hurt falling through open windows.

Firefighters shared an image from an incident that injured a young child near Marysville. The dangling screen could be seen in the photo where the child fell. She had to be rushed to the hospital.

It’s a tragedy that repeats across our region.

“In Snohomish County, we have seen eight window falls since the first of the year,” said Hynes. “That’s actually less than we've seen in the past, and we don't really know why that's happening.”

“We see between 40-50 children every year admitted to Harborview for injuries that were caused by falling out of a window,” said Dr. Brian Johnston from UW Medicine.

Johnston says it is typically children between 2 and 3-years-old who get hurt, and most times it’s a screened window the child fell through.

“I think just about every window fall call I've been on, there's a screen on the ground from a child that pushed up against it,” said Hynes.

There are simple and inexpensive devices like locks and stops that can limit how wide a window can open. There are also even more significant barriers that can be used as long as they are able to be easily removed by an adult in an emergency. Plus, parents are told it’s best to remove furniture or mattresses away from windows so toddlers can’t get too close.

Officials say anything larger than a 4-inch gap is all it takes for a child wiggle through and fall out a window. Screens are not strong enough to withhold the pressure a child can inflict.

“I think parents sometimes have a false sense of security with windows screens,” said Hynes. “Window screens are designed to keep the bugs out not the kids in.”