“It’s more than just a city problem,” says lead author, Dr. Gary Smith of the Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Beth Harlan, a mother who lives in the suburbs. Two years ago, her daughter Sidney Dillon six years old, fell from the second floor in their home in Galloway, east of Columbus. The little girl was sitting on the windowsill and leaned against the net. Beth Harlan entered the room while the panel gave way.
“I went up just in time to see it fall from the window,” she recalls. Fortunately, Sidney fell into a bush. Radio revealed fractures. But the incident has frightened the mother and daughter. “Never think that this kind of thing could happen to you,” says Harlan.
Two thirds of these injuries involve children younger than five years, says Gary Smith. “It’s an age that moves, which is curious, and who is not aware of the danger of falling out the window.”
The study published Monday in the journal “Pediatrics” is the first nationally representative survey of these accidents. The researchers analyzed the results from the emergency department from 1990 to 2008. Some 98 415 children were injured during this period.
The deaths represented less than 1 percent of these cases, a figure that researchers believe underestimated children died of their injuries are not all taken to hospital.
In summer, when windows are left open, the number of falls increases. Those of the first and second floors alone account for 94 percent of cases, when the height of the fall is specified.
The number of injuries decreased slightly over the past 19 years, about 4 percent, almost entirely in the age group under five. When the average annual injury rate was seven per 100 000 children. Better awareness of the danger has improved the construction of windows and use of protection on the windows, including the installation of bars that open the windows while preventing children from falling, could explain this decrease, Gary Smith said.
New York and Boston are performing even better through public awareness campaigns, he says. New York still needs to secure the windows of apartments inhabited by children 10 and under.
Information campaigns are an important first step on the consensus property. But you will not get the desired result as the recommendations will not be made mandatory, says Dr. Andrew Racine, Children’s Hospital of Montefiore, located in the Bronx in New York, where fall injuries to a window are rare.
Securing a window cost 20 to about $ 40. An emergency release system can escape in case of fire or other emergency. “We know what works and yet we are recording more than 5,000 children each year who are taken to the emergency room after falling from a window,” says Gary Smith.