A study published this month reveals that more than 5,000 minors a year, including children in New York, fall from windows, suffering injuries that require trips to hospital emergency rooms. Such falls may lead to premises liability lawsuits for landlords or owners of dangerous property.
The article, appearing in an issue of Pediatrics, indicates that younger children may be at greater risk for such falls and injuries than older children and those in their teens. The statistics examined were furnished by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and they included information about falls and injuries taking place from 1990 to 2008.
During that period, emergency room treatment was provided to 98,415 children who fell from home windows, with an annual average of 5,180 children. Falls from windows in construction sites or tree houses were excluded, as were falls from car windows.
Children 4 or younger comprised 64.8 percent of all children injured, with boys suffering injuries more frequently than girls.
During the study time period, injuries decreased somewhat, which the authors believe may be due to greater awareness about the need for safety, an increase in the installation of window guards and improvements in window construction. The study states that window guards are a good preventative measure. Window screens, however, which were present in 82.8 percent of the cases, do not provide much protection to children.
New York passed an ordinance which established programs of education and awareness designed to combat window falls incidents among children. These campaigns were credited with a big decline in such falls and injuries in the city, but no such programs currently exist on a national level.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “About 5,000 children may be injured yearly from window falls,” Jeannine Stein, Aug. 22, 2011