Vancouver – BC Children’s Hospital has treated six children who have fallen from windows or balconies so far this year. Last year, a total of 15 children were treated for these same types of falls.
There is a critical need to raise awareness about this danger as we head into the warmer spring and summer months.
“I’ve had the terrifying experience of having my child fall out of a window in my house,” said Mike, whose 4-year-old son survived a fall from a second-storey window in April. “Fortunately, he is recovering remarkably well. I feel like my family has been given a second chance so I want to help get the message out about how important it is to regularly childproof the windows and balconies of your home.”
“A child’s fall can be devastating for a family. We are urging parents and caregivers to take steps to keep kids safe near windows and on balconies,” said Dr. Genevieve Ernst, trauma medical director at BC Children’s Hospital. “Toddlers are especially vulnerable because they are curious, they love to climb and often don’t recognize when they are putting themselves at risk.”
Most falls from windows or balconies (66%) involve children aged six and under, with 85% occurring between April and September, and 77% occurring at home. The main types of injuries children sustain from these falls are head injuries and fractures to shoulders and upper arms.
“Each year as the temperatures get warmer, paramedics, tragically, see emergency calls for young children who have fallen from windows or balconies,” said Jodi Butterman, a paramedic specialist with BCEHS. “Small children are very capable of pushing open an unlocked window. A little bit of safeguarding work can prevent this from happening.”
Tips to prevent falls from windows and balconies:
BC Children’s Hospital, part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides expert care for the province’s most seriously ill or injured children, youth and young adults, including newborns. For more information, visit www.bcchildrens.ca or follow us on Twitter @BCChildrensHosp.
BC Emergency Health Services, also part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is responsible for the delivery and governance of pre-hospital emergency medical care and inter-facility patient transfers through the BC Ambulance Service and BC Patient Transfer Services. For more information, visit www.bcehs.ca or follow us on Twitter @BC_EHS.