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The Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) has noted a cause for concern as they have seen a doubling in 2010 of the number of children in the ER after falling out of a window. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 3,000 U.S. children 5 and younger are hospitalized each year after falls out of windows.

The Minneapolis Tribune pointed out that:

The latest alert comes despite efforts by Minnesota lawmakers to reduce the risk of window-related falls. Laela’s Law required Minnesota builders as of July 2009 to use windows with fall-prevention devices in the construction or remodeling of apartments or multi-family homes. The law, named after a 2-year-old who in 2006 survived a fall from the fourth-story window of a relatively new building in Minneapolis, does not govern single-family homes or require apartments to switch immediately to the safer windows.

The Ramsey County Sheriff Department has in the past sent out a press release pointed out the following tips:

  • That screens be secure and children are not allowed to play near open windows.
  • Chairs and other furniture should be moved away from windows so children can’t climb up and press upon the screens.
  • If possible, open windows from the top, not the bottom.

New York City has set up a whole program to prevent these tragedies.

Screens cannot be trusted to do the job alone. Screens are made to keep bugs out, not to keep children in. Review simple child safety products available. Most hardware stores sell child safety products and window stops which allow windows only to open a few inches past the sill. Window guards screw into the sides of the window frame. They need to be screwed securely into the window frame because guards that are simply spring-loaded can be easily dislodged by a child.

Be safe and check those windows.

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