The number of children treated at BC Children’s Hospital after falling from a window or balcony more than doubled during the warmer months in 2017, compared to the previous year.
That’s according to new numbers released Friday by the BC Trauma Registry.
Fifteen children were brought to the hospital’s emergency room between May and September 2017, compared to seven during the same months the year before.
“As the warmer season approaches, I strongly urge parents and caregivers to take precautions to ensure their windows and balconies are safely secure to prevent tragedies and keep our children safe,” said Dr. Ash Singhal, pediatric neurosurgeon and medical director of BC Children’s trauma program.
Between 2010 and 2016, 132 children were treated at trauma centres across B.C. after falling from a window or balcony, with about 85 per cent of them between the ages of one and six.
BC Emergency Health Service paramedic Marilyn Oberg said it takes just “a little bit of safeguarding work” to keep children safe when the windows and doors are open.
So far this month, already two children have been reported to have from a window in the Lower Mainland.
A child in Langley fell from the top floor of a four-storey building and managed to land in some bushes. A two-year-old boy in Abbotsford was found by emergency crews lying on concrete eight feet below the window of a home. Both children survived
“It’s tragic that each year as we get into the warmer months, we see young children falling from windows and balconies,” Oberg said.
BC Children’s Hospital and emergency officials are offering tips for parents and caregivers to prevent falls:
- Don’t underestimate a child’s mobility. Children begin climbing before they can walk.
- Move furniture and household items away from windows to discourage children from climbing to peer out.
- Remember window screens will not prevent children from falling through.
- Install window guards on windows above the ground level. These act as a gate in front of the window.
- Alternatively, fasten your windows so that they cannot open more than 10 centimetres. Children can fit through spaces as small as 12 centimetres wide.
- Ensure there is a safe release option for your windows in case of a house fire.
- Do not leave children unattended on balconies or decks. Move furniture or planters away from the edges to keep kids from climbing up and over.
- Talk to your children about the dangers of opening and playing near windows, particularly on upper floors of the home or in a high-rise dwelling.